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                                   SNOW LEAVES FERNS

This virtual exhibition introduces the Museum's holding of work by Cecilia Louisa Glaisher (1828-1892) and the images she made of ferns and snow crystals. Now that the material has been digitally copied and placed online, it is possible for it to be seen more widely and studied in detail for the first time since it was created in the 1850s.

The fern images were made photographically without use of a camera, by William Henry Fox Talbot's 'photogenic drawing' process. They were intended for a publication, never realised, called The British Ferns: Represented in a Series of Photographs from Nature by Mrs Glaisher.

The images of snow crystal forms were used to illustrate a scientific paper, 'On the Severe Weather at the beginning of the year 1855; and on Snow and Snow-crystals', authored by her husband James Glaisher (1809-1903). From this followed a second paper 'On the crystals of snow as applied to the purposes of design', published in The Art Journal in March and April 1857.

Cecilia Glaisher's work was all made on paper, by a variety of techniques and methods, often mixing media. There are pencil-drawn annotated observations; precise pen and ink schematic drawings, to some of which colour has been added by hand; photogenic drawings and salted paper prints; and an album of nature prints of leaves.

The material came to the Fitzwilliam Museum, which has the major holding of her work, in 1928 as part of the bequest of the Glaishers' eldest son, James Whitbread Lee Glaisher (1848-1928).

To enter the exhibition please click on one of the links below or use the index on the left-hand side.