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Anna Atkins Cyanotype Wallpaper

March 27, 2017

Murals Wallpaper has developed a collection inspired by the first female photographer with proceeds supporting women’s rights efforts in the UK.

To honor and celebrate International Women's Day on March 8, interiors+sources magazine is taking a look back at the icons who have elevated our field, beginning with Anna Atkins and Murals Wallpaper's 2017 print inspired by Atkins.

Although trained as a botanist, Atkins (1799-1871) learned about photography and cyanotype printing from their inventors, William Henry Fox Talbot and Sir John Herschel respectively. Using these methods, she recorded specimens for 'British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions,' published in 1843. By doing so, Atkins not only established photography as a means of scientific illustration—superseding the hand drawings that came before—but cemented herself in history as the first female photographer.

To celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8, Murals Wallpaper found inspiration from the first female photographer, Anna Atkins, whose work the company believes embodies the ethos #BeBoldForChange.

Atkins was a British botanist whose use of cyanotypes—or “sunprints”—of plants and algae in botanical studies paved the way for the use of photography in scientific publishing. She accomplished this during a time when the official foray of women into science was yet to come. Atkins became a member of the Botanical Society in London in 1839, one of the few scientific societies open to women.

Now, versions of her striking photographic images are being used in Murals Wallpaper’s unique designs. The print reflects the blue tones that emerge from the cyanotype process, leaving the paper so-called “Prussian blue.” The design team at Murals Wallpaper sourced the original photographs, which are now in the public domain, and brought them to life through digital design techniques. All products are made-to-order and custom sized according to the customer’s wall dimensions.

Twenty percent of every sale of the Anna Atkins Cyanotype collection in 2017 will be donated to the Fawcett Society, the UK’s top charity promoting gender equality and women’s rights at work, at home, and in the public sphere.  


The views presented here do not necessarily reflect the views of interiors+sources®.

How to Get Involved

Other than purchasing from the Anna Atkins collection, separate donations can be made to the Fawcett Society at  fawcettsociety.org.uk/donations/donatewebiwd/. The group’s efforts include, among other things, campaigning for practical solutions to the everyday challenges women face, and giving people the tools to bring about change in their own communities.

Similar groups in the U.S. include the National Organization for Women (NOW), which has its own foundation that focuses on a variety of women’s rights issues, including equal pay, reproductive rights, marriage and family rights for same-sex couples, and global feminist issues. More information and a donation form can be found at now.org. For non-monetary donation information, visit now.org/more-ways-to-give/.

Photography courtesy of Murals Wallpaper

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