Cyanotype of Osmunda interrupta, 1853

1853 in United Kingdom
Anna Atkins

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Cyanotype of Osmunda interrupta, 1853 A cyanotype of Osmunda interrupta, from 'Cyanotypes of British and Foreign Ferns'
© National Media Museum, Bradford / SSPL. Creative Commons BY-NC-SA
Science Museum Group Collection

A cyanotype of Osmunda interrupta, 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.

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.


Object Number:
  • processes and techniques
  • image making processes and techniques
  • photographic process
  • visual and verbal communication
National Media Museum, Bradford

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