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Photograph - Festuca Ovina (Fescue Grasses)
  • Festuca Ovina (Fescue Grasses)
    Atkins, Anna, born 1799 - died 1871
  • Enlarge image

Festuca Ovina (Fescue Grasses)

  • Object:

    Photograph

  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    1854 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Atkins, Anna, born 1799 - died 1871 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Cyanotype on paper

  • Museum number:

    PH.380-1981

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C, case TECHS

Physical description

Cyanotype print showing Festuca Ovina (Fescue Grasses). The white detailed outline of the grasses stand out in stark contrast to the bright prussian blue of the background. The title 'Festuca Ovina' is also in white in the bottom left hand of the image.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)

Date

1854 (made)

Artist/maker

Atkins, Anna, born 1799 - died 1871 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Cyanotype on paper

Dimensions

Height: 35 cm, Width: 24.8 cm

Descriptive line

Photograph by Anna Atkins, 'Festuca Ovina (Fescue Grass)', 1854, cyanotype

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Coe, Brian & Haworth-Booth, Mark. A Guide to Early Photographic Printing Processes. London: The Victoria and Albert Museum in association with Hurtwood Press, 1983.

Labels and date

Photography Centre 2018-20:

Anna Atkins (1797–1871)
Festuca Ovina (Fescue Grass)
1854

Anna Atkins is credited with being the first woman photographer and the first person to produce a photographically illustrated book. She was already a skilled botanical illustrator when she took up the cyanotype photographic process, invented by Sir John Herschel in 1842. As part of the process, after exposing an object in contact with paper in sunlight for a few minutes, she washed the paper in water, producing a white image on a brilliant cyan (blue) background.

Cyanotype
Museum no. PH.380-1981
[]
Cameraless Photography

Anna Atkins (1799–1871)
Festuca Ovina (Fescue Grasses) from British and Foreign Flowering Plants and Ferns
c.1854
Cyanotype
35 x 24.8 cm
Museum no. Ph.380-1981

Atkins was already a skilled technical illustrator by the time she took up the cyanotype photographic process invented by Sir John Herschel in 1842. A sheet of paper was brushed with iron salt solutions and dried in the dark. After exposing an object on the paper in sunlight for a few minutes the paper was washed in water. Oxidation produced a white image on a brilliant blue, or cyan, background.
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Materials

Photographic paper

Techniques

Cyanotype; Photography

Subjects depicted

Grass

Categories

Access to Images; Images Online; Photographs

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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