Alexandra Caccamo (Librarian, National Botanic Gardens) discusses a remarkable book of cyanotypes from the special collections of the National Botanic Gardens.
One of the first tasks I undertook when I started working in the National Botanic Gardens in 2007 was to review the open access collection. During this audit, I found a number of items that were later moved to the special collections. One of these items was a thin volume by Herbert Dobbie, entitled New Zealand Ferns. 148 Varieties (1880). It caught my eye, as it was an unusual book, consisting entirely of cyanotypes.
I had never come across a cyanotype book before so, I was quite excited to find Dobbie’s book on the shelves. Immediately I removed it for safekeeping to the more secure storage of the special collections and started to do some research, finding two articles on Dobbie written by John D. McCraw.