Remembered for her pioneering botanical and photographic publication Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions, she is also notable for her collaborations with Anne Dixon on several photographic books about ferns.
During her childhood years, she received an advanced scientific education and perfected her artistic skills by creating shell engravings.
She may have been the first female photographer in history, though some sources confer this honor upon her friend Constance Talbot.
The daughter of Anne Children and prominent natural scientist John George Children, she spent her youth in Kent, England. She married John Pelly Atkins in the mid 1820s.
She was a friend of astronomer and photographic process inventor John Herschel.