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Conferva arcta by Anna Atkins

Conferva arcta by Anna Atkins


Trained as a botanist by her father, a prominent scientist, Anna Atkins was inspired to take up photography to record botanical specimens for a scientific reference book and is considered the first female photographer.  The self-published book, “British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions” (1843), contains detailed and meticulous botanical images of algae using the cyanotype photographic process. Handmade in a limited number of copies (only 20 are known to exist, 15 of which are substantially complete), it was also the first book ever to be printed and illustrated entirely with photographs, inaugurating the use of photography as an accurate medium for scientific illustration. Aesthetically, the images are gorgeous, with the cream-colored outlines of the algae against the Prussian blue background of the paper.



  • Series title: Cyanotypes of Algae by Anna Atkins
  • Series size: 8 artworks
  • Edition: Limited edition of 1000
  • Proof of Ownership: