Cyanotype Photography

You have no doubt heard of a tintype, maybe a daguerreotype or perhaps even a ambrotype, but have you heard of a cyanotype?

Sir John Herschel 1792 – 1871

The cyanotype (sai·a·nuh·taip) process was first introduced by Sir John Herschel in 1842.

Sir John was a scientist and an astronomer, trying to find a way of copying his notes.

Herschel managed to fix pictures using hyposulphite of soda as early as 1839. In the early days the paper was coated with iron salts and then used in contact printing.

 

The paper was then washed in water and resulted in a white image on a deep blue background. 

 

As well as the Cyanotype process Sir John Herschel also coined the words photography, negative, positive and snapshot.

Cyanotype photography was popular in Victorian England, but became less popular as photography improved.

The Aroostook Historical and Art Museum is fortunate to have several  examples of Cyanotype images in its collection.

​​​​© 2015 Aroostook County Historic & Art Museum

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