© National Museum of Science & Media / Science & Society Picture Library
Taken from an album of ferns published in 1853 for presentation to CSA by Anna Atkins, a pioneering figure in photography, and her friend, Anne Dixon (1799- 1864). Atkins is credited with having produced the first book to use photographic illustrations. The 'blueprint' process used to make the image employs ferric salts to produce a light sensitive solution coated onto a sheet of paper. After exposure it is permanently fixed by washing in plain water. The image is white on a blue background, and is highly durable and stable.
Cyanotype of Polypodium phegopteris, 1853.