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date: 09 December 2019

Atkins [née Children], Anna locked

(b Tonbridge, Kent, March 16, 1799; d Halstead Place, Kent, June 9, 1871).
  • L. J. Schaaf

Extract

(b Tonbridge, Kent, March 16, 1799; d Halstead Place, Kent, June 9, 1871).

English photographer and scientist. The only daughter of the scientist John George Children (1777–1852), she was a pioneering photographer and the first person to publish a photographically printed and illustrated book. Her privately published British Algae, issued in parts from 1843 to 1853, pre-dated William Henry Fox Talbot Pencil of Nature (London, 1844) and stood for some time as the only sustained effort to apply photography to scientific illustration. Her plates of seaweed specimens were photograms, contact printed in the cyanotype, or blueprint, photographic process, invented in 1842 by her friend Sir John Herschel. In the early 1850s, collaborating with Anne Dixon (1799–1864), Atkins turned to creative expression with cyanotype photograms (e.g. Spirea aruncus, 1851–4). Her visual approach, initially shaped by the requirements of scientific illustration rather than the conventions of Victorian art, was bold and direct and strongly anticipated the later photograms of ...

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