Engraving and Etching, 1400-2000

A History of the Development of Manual Intaglio Printmaking Processes

This book surveys the history of the techniques of engraving, etching and plate printing – i.e. that of manual intaglio printmaking processes – from its beginning in the 1430s until today. These developments are observed in the light of the coherence between the technique of the intaglio print (such as its materials and methods of production); the 'style' or outward appearance of the print; the creator of the print; and the fashion typical of a particular social group, place and time. Economic, educational and social aspects are discussed, as well as the worldwide dissemination of the trade of intaglio printmaking.
The author shows how intaglio printmaking developed steadily from the mid-fifteenth century, with the invention of the roller press and the etching of printing plates. By 1525 intaglio printmaking techniques could be said to have reached maturity and spread east and west following the European trade routes and colonisation. Further developments in plate-making resulted from a series of inventions and reinventions. After the abolition of the guilds on the European continent around 1800, and the introduction of photography and the expansion of the graphic industry, the engraving of images became a mere mechanical procedure. The handcrafted print made way for the large-scale mechanised graphic industry which emerged in the middle of the nineteenth century. Consequently artist-etchers withdrew to an elite position to concentrate on the manual aspects of printmaking, which is the situation today.
This comprehensively illustrated study is the first of its kind to cover all elements of the trade of engraving and etching throughout six centuries. Based on an exhaustive number of primary sources it will be an essential resource for collectors, curators, conservators, printmakers and students of technical art history.

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Ad Stijnman PhD (Amsterdam) FRHistS is a researcher on historical printmaking materials and processes at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. He has published monographs and numerous articles on the practical aspects of historical printing and printmaking techniques.
"The book is a one-stop shop for historians and collectors of prints. Stijnman's coverage of broader topics, like the professionalisation of the trade, the development of definitions of authenticity in printmaking, and the connections between fine art and book printing, is balanced by detailed studies of the developments of tools, grounds, acids, the roller press, inks, supports and colour printmaking." - in: Apollo, February 2013
"The author is uniquely qualified to write this book...As a result, his conclusions have an authority that immediately makes this a standard work, and it can confidently be recommended to any reader." - in: The Burlington Magazine, 177 (March 2013)
"This is an exhaustive study of the history of intaglio printing. Its discursiveness leads to its great length but also to its value as a reference work. The proponents of both art and technique are well represented, both in text and illustration, much of the latter of good size and in colour. Mr Stijnman, and his publishers, have done a great service to both the art and craft of printing by making this study accessible." - in: The Society of Bookbinders Newsletter, August 2013
"It is an example of the kind of mind-boggling research that occasionally happens in the field of prints (one thinks of Bartsch or Hollstein)—research that transforms the field and opens new horizons for future scholars. Engraving and Etching will be indispensable in museum print study rooms, art libraries, for collectors and print dealers for many years to come." - in: Art in Print, November–December 2013
"Encyclopedic in vision, it moves well beyond the early modern period to cover more than six centuries of printmaking. Given the ambitiously broad chronological span and the close attention paid to technical issues, one might compare Stijnman’s book with the standard introductory textbooks by Bamber Gascoigne or Antony Griffiths – but Engraving and Etching 1400–2000 is paradoxically both more focused and more expansive than these other two exceptionally useful volumes." - in: Council for European Studies, December 2013
"The wealth of fact, imagery and well-grounded suggestion in this book so excites the memory and imagination. Stijnman answers many questions and solves numerous puzzles, inviting the reader into his inquiry and providing the solid basis for further discussion, research and speculation - a model of true scholarship." - in: Print Quarterly, December 2013
"How immensely refreshing to find a respected printmaking scholar and academic who is also a practicing printmaker. Ad Stijnman knows his stuff and understands the art of intaglio printmaking first hand. [...] The edition is beautifully illustrated throughout with examples of intaglio prints ranging through the six centuries studied. [...] It has been an impressive undertaking by Ad Stijnman, who has produced an edition so very dense in terms of information and yet so utterly engaging." - in: Printmaking Today Vol. 23 (Summer 2014)
"Ad Stijnman's richly illustrated and in-depth study of the history of the techniques of engraving and etching focuses on the development of the intaglio processes, while at the same time throwing light on things that had a direct influence on this development: for example, materials, style, fashion, commercial considerations, and technical innovation. Stijnman brings the reader into the printmaker's workshop and describes in detail the production of prints from start to finish. [...] This work is not only an engaging descriptive study of intaglio processes over the last six hundred years but also a particularly useful reference work that can serve well as a starting point for future research." - in: Sixteenth Century Journal Vol. XLV/2 (2014)


Origin and structure of this study
Art history and printmaking
Main issues
Technique and style
Art technology and prints
Technical and stylistic developments
Graphic art vs. the printing trade
Modern intaglio printmaking
Working method
Art technological source research

Chapter 1: Antecedents, early developments and dissemination
Engraving techniques
Intaglio printing
Printing support
Printing medium
Printing press
Niello proofs
Printing editions
Printing series
Book illustration
Pattern welding
Copper plating
Nitric acid
Etching techniques
Etching iron printing plates
Etching copper printing plates
Dissemination of intaglio printmaking techniques
Dissemination within Europe, and to Asia, Australia and the Americas

Chapter 2: The trade in intaglio printmaking
Engravers and plate printers
Plate printers
Workshop training
Institutional training
Books and articles
The workshop
The engraver’s workshop
The plate printer’s workshop
The printmaker’s workshop
Dealers in artists’ materials
Materials suppliers
Press manufacturers

Chapter 3: Producing the Matrix
The printing plate
Metal plate
Non-metal plate
Plate production
Protecting plates
Recycling plates
Transferring the design
Image and mirror image
Mechanical procedures
Modern developments
Chemical procedures
Modern developments
Non-manual procedures
Replication of intaglio printing plates
Mechanical intaglio processes
Photomechanical intaglio processes
Digital intaglio processes

Chapter 4: Printing the matrix
Printing support
Other supports
Printing medium
Ink making
Interaction between ink and paper
Printing press
Mechanics of printing
The wooden roller press, 1460-1800
Changing from wood to metal, 1800-1850
The metal roller press, 1800-2000
The printmaker’s press
Mechanisation of intaglio printing
Printing procedures
Printing by press
Rubbing and casting
Printing editions
Printing series
Colour printing procedures
Monochrome printing
Polychrome printing
Combination techniques

Summary and Final Conclusions

Appendix 1: General chronology of intaglio printmaking processes

Appendix 2: Early engravers up to 1500

Appendix 3: Terms in print addresses
List of authorised contents and functions in addresses

Appendix 4: Bibliography of practical manuals
Manuals and their influence
Abraham Bosse
New manuals
Maxime Lalanne
Stanley Hayter
Working manner
Definitions and criteria
Search methods
Formal terms
Public collections
Private collections
Published and online collections
Reference works
Bibliographical descriptions
Books and manuscripts

Appendix 5: Indices to the bibliography of practical manuals
Indices to the manuscripts
Index by serial number
Chronological index
General index
Places of publication
Chronological index


Name index

Subject index
Based on an exhaustive number of primary sources it will be an essential resource for collectors, curators, conservators, printmakers and students of technical art history.
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