Victorian Ladies’ Pressed Seaweed Pictures – Set of Six (1885)
A set of six groups of seaweed pressed and arranged on paper
Newly-framed in polished aluminium as pictured
Throughout the 19th century, biologists and botanists had pressed samples of seaweeds for herbariums and museums. But in the 1870s and 80s, there emerged a fashion for ladies to do the same. Queen Victoria developed an enthusiasm for pressing seaweed. As did George Eliot, who wrote in an 1856 journal entry that ‘the tide pools on the shores of Ilfracombe made me quite in love with seaweeds.’ Seen as being suffused with the ineffable mysteries and wildness of the ocean, these ‘flowers of the sea’ held decorative sway for a decade over their more pampered, earth-born cousins.