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Over 5,000 hand printed and coloured etchings and engravings from original, mostly antique, intaglio printing plates.
There are three basic printing methods by which old prints and maps were produced .....
Relief processes - starting with a block of soft or hardwood, this is cut away such that the image to be reproduced is left raised and the area not to be printed from is removed, the block then has ink applied to the remaining raised areas (the design) and is then applied to the paper to transfer the image.
The two main types of relief processes used for antique prints and maps were Woodcuts and wood engraving.
Intaglio processes - starting with a metal plate (copper or steel), the design is etched or engraved into the metal in one of a number of ways. The plate is then inked and wiped, such that ink only remains in the incised lines. Next, the plate is passed through a roller press with dampened paper laid over the image, the press exerts considerable pressure forcing the paper into the incised lines to take up the ink. This method is capable of reproducing an image with a great deal of fine detail and is often still used for banknotes.
Surface processes - lithography being the only process of this kind of relevance to antique maps and prints, a method whereby the design is created chemically on a flat surface of stone (later zinc), ink which only adhered to the design was then applied and transferred to the paper in a press.
Further details - Lithography and chromo-lithography (to come.)
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