Ceylon (quick-ship)

by Anna Atkins

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Artist Statement

After publishing her own book of cyanotype photograms of British algae in the 1840s, Atkins collaborated with her childhood friend and fellow scholar Anne Dixon on a second book of photograms. The book, Cyanotypes of British and Foreign Ferns, was published in 1853 and now resides in the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.

This particular image is a selection from Cyanotypes of British and Foreign Ferns. A collection of four distinct ferns, it's simply captioned "Ceylon”. At the time these cyanotypes were being made, the island of Ceylon—modern day Sri Lanka—was under British rule. It would be nearly another century before the island declared independence from Atkins’ home country. Despite the abundant difficulties of travel in the 1850s, Atkins’s many scientific and business connections no doubt helped her obtain several foreign specimens for this book of fern cyanotypes.

Why We Love It

In the summer of 1852, Anne Dixon and Anna Atkins 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 ... Read more from Jen Bekman on the blog!


+ This Quick Ship artwork ships in one business day.
+ This edition is not eligible for discount.
+ Limited-edition, exclusive to 20x200
+ Museum quality: archival inks, 100% cotton rag paper unless noted
+ Handcrafted custom-framing is not available.

Our quoted dimensions are for the size of paper containing the images, not the printed image itself. We do not alter the aspect ratio, nor do we crop or resize the artists’ originals. All of our prints have a minimum border of .5 inches to allow for framing.


Museo Portfolio Rag

Edition Structure:
14"x11" | edition of 200

Anna Atkins

Anna Atkins (1799 - 1871) was an English botanist and photographer, best known for her "cyanotype impressions", or cyanotype photograms. Atkins grew up under the tutelage of her father, scientist John George Children, which led her to find her passion in botany. Both her father and her husband, John Pelly Atkins, were friendly with some of the inventive minds of the time. These included William Henry Fox Talbot, inventor of the photogram, and Sir John Herschel, developer of the cyanotype photograph process. Though these men taught Anna Atkins how to use their inventions, only she brought them together in scientific... Read More
and artistic study. Using her extensive collection of dried plants, Atkins created enough cyanotype photograms to self-publish Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions, the first-ever book illustrated with photographs. She later published two other books of cyanotype impressions as well as other non-photographic books before her death in 1871.
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