Cyanotype of Adiantum serrulatum, 1853

Made:
1853 in United Kingdom
photographer:
Anna Atkins

A cyanotype of the fern Adiantum serrulatum, from 'Cyanotypes of British and Foreign Ferns', made by Anna Atkins in 1853.

Atkins was a pioneering figure in photographic history, having produced the first book to use photographic illustrations - 'British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions' - in 1843.

This image was made by placing the plant specimen on top of light-sensitised paper and then exposing it to sunlight. Atkins went on to produce several more cyanotype albums containing many striking images, mainly of ferns and other plants.

The cyanotype process was invented by Sir John Herschel (1792-1871) in 1842 and derived from his observations on the light sensitivity of iron salts. The brilliant blue colour of the resulting prints gives the process its more common name - the blueprint. The process was used for many years to duplicate engineers' drawings.

Details

Category:
Photographs
Object Number:
1995-5024/71
type:
photograph
taxonomy:
  • visual and verbal communication
  • processes and techniques
  • image making processes and techniques
  • photographic process
credit:
National Media Museum, Bradford