Anna Atkins: Born March 16, 1799

The Misty Miss Christy

Anna_Atkins Anna Atkins was born Anna Children in the town of Tonbridge in the English county of Kent. Her mother died soon after she was born and Anna was raised by her father John George Children, who was a chemist, mineralogist, and zoologist. Anna was particularly interested in plant collecting and botany, and in 1823 illustrated her father’s translation of a book on the subject of shells with her own engravings.

Through her father, Atkins knew Sir John Herschel, the inventor of the process known as “cyanotype”. This process, originated in the 1840s, was one of the first non-silver technologies used to create photographic images. It later evolved into the process known by the term “blueprint”, those blue background reproductions of large architectural and mechanical drawings. William Henry Fox Talbot, another acquaintance of the Atkins family, improved upon the chemistry to create what he called the “calotype” and this became the…

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