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Exceptional case: the cyanotype

A cyanotype can be recognised from its cyan-blue colour and white lines. The chemical reaction of iron salts applied to paper with light creates a deep blue colour. It was a cheap way to copy drawings in the 19th century.

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The difference between a cyanotype, blueprint and photogram

A blueprint looks very similar to a cyanotype, but was used more for technical drawings and plans.

For botanical studies, sheets of paper were treated with a light-sensitive product and placed in the sun with plants or other natural objects on top. The bright blue print left on the paper is called a photogram.


Old cyanotypes always have heritage value. You should therefore contact your local heritage society for more info about how to preserve, store and digitise your valuable find.

Did you know …

… the blueprint process originated as early as 1842, but is still used by photographers and artists today?

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Met de steun van Vaal nderen en EFRO europees fonds voor regionale ontwikkeling