Ceylon by Anna Atkins


Ceylon by Anna Atkins
10"x8" ($24) | 14"x11" ($60) | 20"x16" ($240) | 30"x24" ($800)


Jen here to kick off the new year with some fabulous blues from our favorite photography pioneer, the innovative, adventurous and (until recently) largely unsung Anna Atkins. Ceylon is our sixth addition to our collection of Anna Atkins prints, and our very first release from the series of cyanotypes that she created in collaboration with her sister-friend Anne Dixon. Dixon, a distant cousin of Jane Austen, was largely raised by Atkins’ father. (Like Anna, she lost her mother at a young age and her army general father was stationed in far-off Portugal.)

In the summer of 1852, the pair reunited to mourn the death of Atkins' father, and that sad occasion resulted in some stunning imagery that has only recently begun to get its due: their book Cyanotypes of British and Foreign Ferns is the source for today’s Ceylon. It’s also the source of a fabulous series of images created using objects like peacock feathers and lace, which were presented as a gift to Anne’s cousin Henry Dixon. In her work with Dixon, Atkins moved beyond her interest in botany and scientific documentation to create images that had a bit more flair to them, as evidenced in Ceylon, which is an artfully arranged array of fronds, rather than an example of a single specimen …

We’ve had lots to say about Atkins since we debuted her first 20x200 edition in 2015 and are absolutely thrilled to see this groundbreaking Victorian visionary receiving the attention she so richly deserves as of late, largely due to her current exhibition at the New York Public Library, Blue Prints: The Pioneering Photographs of Anna Atkins. The exhibition is curated by Joshun Chuang, who has been an incredible champion of Atkins' work.

We’re planning a Team 20x200 field trip to the library to see the NYPL exhibition before it closes on February 17th. In the meanwhile, we’ve been immersing ourselves in the absolutely gorgeous revised and expanded edition of Sun Gardens (which was originally published in 1995 and has been out of print since the 90s) and—of course!—gazing lovingly at the Anna Atkins 20x200 print we have hanging in our office. Blue is Ceylon's color, but it's also the opposite of the way Atkins' images make us feel.

With art for everyone,
Jen Bekman

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