New book collates the pioneering photographs of Anna Atkins

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The 19th-century British botanist utilized an early photographic method to archive plants and algae, and successful 1843 released nan first ever book illustrated pinch photographs

By Gege Li

 2017-02-06 10 Dasya coccinea Anna Atkins, British Algae, Volume II (1851) ? TASCHEN

Dasya coccinea

TASCHEN/Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

THESE beautifully elaborate images show nan singular bequest of Anna Atkins, a 19th-century botanist who near her stamp connected subject and photography pinch her signature “cyanotype” prints. Sphacelaria scoparia Anna Atkins, British Algae, Part III (1844)

Sphacelaria scoparia

TASCHEN/The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

The action is taken from a caller book by Peter Walther, Anna Atkins. Cyanotypes, which reveals nan ingenuity of Atkins, who utilized cyanotypes arsenic a mean for documenting plants and algae. Her images had an unprecedented clarity and accuracy, and were produced by placing specimens onto insubstantial coated pinch a light-sensitive robust brackish solution. The insubstantial was past exposed to sunlight and washed pinch h2o to hole nan image.

Lastrea focnisecii; Anna Atkins (British, 1799 - 1871), and Anne Dixon (British, 1799 - 1877); 1853; Cyanotype; 25.4 ?? 19.4 cm (10 ?? 7 5/8 in.); 84.XO.227.24; No Copyright - United States (

Lastrea foenisecii

TASCHEN/J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

Atkins published Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions successful 1843 – nan first clip a book was illustrated pinch photographs. She published 3 volumes successful total, of which only a fistful of copies are known to beryllium coming successful museums, libraries and galleries astir nan world.

14 Rhodomenia polycarpa Anna Atkins, British Algae, Volume III (1853)

Rhodomenia polycarpa

TASCHEN/New York Public Library

Anna Atkins. Cyanotypes collates much than 550 of her iconic images, which, on pinch representing “milestones successful nan history of subject and media”, writes Walther, are besides typical owed to nan “timeless artistic appeal” of nan intricate specimens contrasted against blue.

15 Conferva gracilis Anna Atkins, British Algae, Volume III (1853) ? TASCHEN / New

Conferva gracilis

TASCHEN/New York Public Library

The main image is nan algae Dasya coccinea, primitively pictured successful Photographs of British Algae Volume II. The image beneath that is Sphacelaria scoparia. The 3rd image shows Lastrea foenisecii, a fern from Atkins’s Cyanotypes of British and Foreign Ferns, followed by 2 algae species, Rhodomenia polycarpa and Conferva gracilis, which featured successful Photographs of British Algae Volume III.