Anna Atkins Pteris Rotundifolia (Jamaica) from the album Cyanotypes of British and Foreign Plants and Ferns 1853

  • Not on view

William Henry Fox Talbot, one of the inventors of photography, predicted that the new medium would make “every man his own printer and publisher.” In actuality, it was a woman, Anna Atkins, whom photography first enabled to act as her own printer of illustrated books. Atkins turned to photography to illustrate her studies of botanical specimens. These cyanotypes were produced by placing each plant directly on light-sensitive paper: areas exposed to light were recorded in cerulean blue, precisely delineating the contours of Atkins’s subjects.

Gallery label from 2019
Cyanotype (photogram)
10 1/16 × 7 15/16" (25.5 × 20.2 cm)
Acquired through the generosity of Richard E. and Laura Salomon
Object number

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