Acid Bath: Chemical solution used for biting into the non-blocked areas of a metal printing plate. Nitric acid in solution is the most usual but the slow action of ferric chloride is preferred for the aquatint, etc.

Acid Free: Paper having a pH level of 7 or more.

Acidic: The unstable molecular state in paper which causes progressive material breakdown (discoloration, integral weakening).

After (also: d'après): Lettering on a print indicates that the design or image is a copy of a known work by another artist.

Aging: Progressive deterioration caused by atmospheric components such as oxygen, moisture, temperature, any kind of light, particulates such as carbon, dust etc. that eventually affect every artwork.

Alkaline Buffer: In paper products (e.g. framing mattes, printing paper), an additive that raises the pH level to counteract potential damage to the print over time.

Archival: For optimum print conservation, those materials that have safeguards against the aging process due to neutral or slightly alkaline pH.

Artist's proof (also A.P., E.A.): Originally, test proofs made by the artist during the creative process. Nowadays this category is mainly a custom, where a certain proportion over and above the total print run (generally not exceeding 5-10%) is allotted to the artist for his personal use.

Aquatint: An intaglio method of printing in which half tone gradations are created by etching around bonded grains of resin. This produces a pitted plate that can, when printed, result in highly painterly effects, much like a watercolor.

Avant la Lettre: (see Proof Before Lettering)

Bevel: The edge of a metal printing plate that is honed at an angle so that it does not cut through the paper during printing.

Biting: In etching, the corrosive action of the acid bath as it attacks the metal or stone matrix.

Block: The wood plate used in printing woodcuts or wood engravings.

Blurring: Double or out-of -focus image that occurs when an image has been misprinted due to faulty alignment of paper and inked roller.

Bon a Tirer or B.A.T.: (French, "good for printing") The artist's notation in the margin which is his approval that this print is the final contender in a series of trial proofs that meets his expectations for the whole edition. For the printer this is the key work-sheet. It is his absolute reference point for the technical execution of every print, which must have no variations, and which is compared against this B.A.T. line for line, color for color.

Burin: The basic tool of the engraver (adopted from the silversmith) which is used to carve out the line, or burin, engraving on the plate or block.

Burnishing: The flattening out of the raised dotted surface of a mezzotint in order to create contrasting tonal areas on the printing plate, using a steel mushroom shaped tool. This burnisher is also used to knead ,"roll out" and obliterate mistakes made on an etched or engraved plate.

Burr: The metal ridge thrown up when the burin or drypoint tool is raked across the metal plate. This burred edge is much appreciated for its rich and highly expressive printed result. Unless the plate is steel-faced, the burr on copper will quickly flatten and erode after 20-30 impressions.

Also, the roughened area produced by the rocker tool in the mezzotint.

Cancelled Plate: When the printing run is completed, the print matrix is defaced, altered or cancelled in some way (e.g. lines drawn through the image) as a safeguard that the plate will not be resurrected for future editions. A cancellation impression is taken as a visual guarantee of the cancelled plate.

Carborundum Method: Intaglio variation invented by Henri Goetz, who used powdered carborundum (a silicone carbide) as an engraving agent: Sprinkling this mixture onto the metal plate which is then pulled through a press, the pressure would radically pit the metal. When printed, there is a dramatic surface impression.

Catalogue Raisonne: A systematic and comprehensive compendium containing all the known works of an artist. "Raisonne" denotes that every piece has been thoroughly and accurately appraised and described, as well as illustrated whenever possible. Title, dimensions, date, techniques, states, edition anomalies, printer, publisher etc. are meticulously recorded and assigned a permanent reference number: an indispensable aid for the collector, student and professional.

Chiaroscuro: The rendering of light and shade, highlights and contrast.

Chromo, or Chromolithography: A commercial type of color printed lithography using different stones, one for each color. Specifically applied to 19thC. color lithographs, which were intended as reproductions and were highly imitative of oil paintings. The large number of printing stones to be coordinated demanded the best of technically skilled printers.

Cliché Verre (also "glass print"): A type of photographic print made on sensitized paper from a glass plate on which an image has been drawn with an etching needle onto its darkened surface.

Clipped (also "trimmed"): The reduction of the original margins of a print, often too close to the printed area, especially in early intaglio prints, where the image may have been so trimmed that the plate marks have been removed. Such transgressions are "forgiven" with incunabula. However, Whistler personally clipped most of his prints in a radical fashion, while some contemporary artists deliberately use over- large margins, so that artist's intent comes into play here too.

Collagraph: (French "coller", to glue). A collage of materials built up with glue as a matrix from which an intaglio and/or relief print is taken.

Collotype: A photomechanical print process involving the application of light to a gelatin coated plate. Used for high quality reproductions, especially of watercolors, because of the reticulated grain faculty achieved through the process.

Color Print: A print produced in color by (i) using a separate matrix for each color (ii) by hand inking separate areas of the single plate (iii) by forcing the color application through a stencil or (iv) by using inks of different viscosities. Colors can be printed side by side, or overprinted. Usually colors are printed from light to dark, but often the blues are printed first.

Colored Print: After the printing process, a print with color applied by free hand or with the use of a stencil.

Copper Plate: The most favored metal used in engraving because of its suppleness in the dry point/burin process, combined with its great strength under the press. Copper is receptive to ink and is easy to wipe clean for re-inking. It polishes up well and has a reliable predictability in etching solutions. When steel-faced, it takes on a powerful printmaking potential. However, because of its expense, many artists turn to a copper plated cheaper metal such as zinc. There are also other compromises, such as aluminum, lucite (plexiglass), celluloid etc.

Counterproof: An impression taken from a freshly printed, still damp sheet onto another paper. This produces an image identical to the image and perspective of the printing plate. With the confusion of the mirror image thus eliminated, the artist has an immediate and unbiased opportunity for assessment and final changes.

Crayon, Lithographic: A grease pencil used in lithography that provides the areas of chemical affinity for the greasy-ink roller printing process.

Crayon Manière ("crayon engraving"): A process that simulates the softened effect of a chalk drawing using various roulettes and needles. The effect can also be achieved through etching when the image is drawn with a "crayon" on a tissue placed on a soft-grounded plate, is lifted, and then leaves behind an exposed copper impression on the plate, ready for printing. Very popular in the 18thC.

Cross Hatching: The drawing of intersecting lines to form a grid which, depending on its density, gives tonality and depth to an image.

Dabber: Inking pad, made of soft leather, cloth or gauze (as in the "a la poupée" daubing method).

Dampening: Paper to be printed is moistened to break down the sizing in its structure. This renders it softer and more receptive to the pressure of the press and the printing inks. Also: In lithography, the stone or aluminum plate is dampened and water adheres to the non-greased areas, thereby repelling the greasy ink.

Deacidify: To chemically stabilize acid paper products in a dry or liquid bath treatment.

Deckle: The irregular edge that typifies hand-made paper. It is created when the paper slurry seeps out from the confines of the mould frame or "deckle." Usually associated with good quality paper.

Delineavit: From Latin, with abbreviations of delin., delt., del.="he drew". Lettering on a print to denote the conceptual creative artist of the piece.

Dotted Manner: From the 15thC - small round holes are repeatedly stamped with punch and hammer into a metal plate, to be inked and printed as a relief block. The printed result of white dots surrounded by black achieves a basic effect of tone.

Dot Work: The printing surface is dotted or grained manually (see above), or etched into the plate or sprayed onto a litho stone, etc…any such technique that produces a half tone.

Double Image: A printing error caused by misalignment of successive overprinting plates in the coloration process. Can also happen when there is slippage of the paper or press underfelt.

Drypoint: Direct manual contact on a metal plate with any defining tool, usually steel or diamond tipped, which creates the furrows and furled-back burr of the line or dotted image. It is called "dry" to distinguish it from the "liquid" (acid bath) etching procedures.

Embossing: Pressure printing of an image without ink (a.k.a "blind" embossing") to produce a raised three dimensional effect (Also, a "cast paper print").

Engrave: In print design or image creation, cutting the lines directly into wood, metal, stone or lucite with a graver, burin or electric engraving tool.

Etch: In intaglio image creation, etched lines are the result of the corrosive biting (acid bath) of the exposed (i.e. not protected by "resist") areas of the plate. (Note that the Old English for "eaten" is "et").

Etching Ground: This is the acid resistant wax-based or grease-based coating applied to the plate as a prepared surface or "ground" for the image. With a metal tool, the image is then scratched into the coating called "hard ground" or, by applying the malleable "soft ground" the plate receives the impression of anything pressed onto it. The degree of hardness or softness of the ground is easily adjusted according to age-old "recipes" still in use today. Both the hard and soft ground processes expose the underlying metal, which is then ready for the acid bath.

Execudit: Lettering on a print, from Latin meaning "he issued", or published.

Facsimile: In the 19thC, skilled workshops were set up to faithfully recreate (but not "interpret") hand-worked images such as paintings for mass distribution. The primary technique they used was wood engraving (see also Xylograph). This highly organized, labor intensive factory method of reproduction was dealt a deadly blow with the advent of photography.

Fading: The progressive deterioration of the color or color balance of an image because of light exposure.

Fecit: Lettering on a print, from Latin meaning "he made", usually referring to the engraver or etcher who worked the image onto the plate.

Fillet: In framing, any spacer device that is placed between the paper and the glass to prevent contact.

Foul Biting: In etching, an overbitten area in which the metal surface becomes so eaten away or the lines undercut in the acid bath that the image loses definition and eventually crumbles. Foul biting usually occurs because of lines being etched too close together, or the acid solution being too aggressive or the acid bath timing being miscalculated, or the etching ground being poorly prepared or applied. However, it can also be used with artistic intent, because of the resultant dramatic grain in the exposed area when printed.

Foxing: Yellow to brownish spots (a mold) which can appear over time on paper, caused by impurities in the paper reacting with atmospheric conditions, particularly humidity, and exacerbated by non-conservation framing. Often easy to restore.

Gouge: A V or U shaped cutting tool used for wood and lino cuts.

Grisaille: A work rendered in monochromes (French: "grey").

Grain: The surface of wood, stone or paper, which must be taken into account and accommodated before the work begins. Also: The general patterned effect of etched or aquatinted or otherwise dotted areas in the printed result.

Graphics: A generic term applied not only to line drawings, but also to all categories of original prints.

Half Tone: Gradations in the dark-light continuum achieved on the printing plate using specialized tools, techniques and/or chemical solutions. (See also aquatint, sugar lift, dotted manner, splatter technique.)

Heliograph or Heliogravure: A photomechanical process used to create an intaglio plate by applying a photosensitive gel to the plate, which is then exposed to light.

H.C. or Hors Commerce: Prints in an edition designated as "not for retail". Usually reserved for the publisher and shouldn't exceed 5% of the total edition size.

Impression: A print taken from a plate, stone or wood block.

Impressit (also Imp): Lettering on a print, from Latin that denotes "he printed".

Incidit (also Incid. Inc.): Lettering on a print, from Latin that denotes "he engraved".

Incunabula: (from Latin "cradle") Prints from the earliest historical stages or waypoints of print development, such as the "Nurnburg Chronicles" and its moveable type. Any printed work before 1500 is generally referred to as incunabula.

Inking: The process of applying ink to the relief areas of a woodblock, the incised parts of an intaglio plate, the grease markings on a litho stone, or the scraper method in silkscreen.

Intaglio: The printing process whereby the image is lifted under the great pressure of the press from the ink pocketed in the engraved or etched grooves of a metal plate, and thereby transferred onto dampened paper which has been placed over the plate.

Inventit (also Inv. or In.): Lettering on a print, from Latin to denote "he designed" (the concept).

Japan Paper: A soft but strong and resilient tissue from the Orient used for mounting as well as for printing.

Key Block: The primary or master block, which contains the main outlines of the image. This anchor image is progressively filled in with the overprinting of other blocks in different colors.

Laid Paper: Hand made paper with the characteristic parallel grid pattern (the impression from the interwoven mould or matrix used in the paper making process). Imitated in machine- produced paper via the cylindrical "dandy roll".

Lettering: All the original printed inscriptions on the print relating to the image, such as "inventit"', "impressit", copyright, perhaps even the original dealer's name, etc.

Letterpress: Generic category for all forms of relief printing, as a distinct grouping from lithography, screen printing etc.

Light Staining: With prolonged exposure to light an artwork will deteriorate and can acquire a darkened and/or stained appearance.

Linocut: Print taken from an incised linoleum tile using the planographic printing method.

Lith.: Lettering on a print, abbreviation of "lithographit" (from Latin = "he drew on stone".)

Lithograph: Printing technique based on the chemical antipathy of oil and water.

Lithotint: A lithographic technique that imitates a wash drawing.

Mark: A personal logo that serves as the artist's signature on a print (Whistler used a butterfly as his mark). Also: a stamp or collector's mark that identifies the previous owner of a print, often au verso.

Matte (also Passepartout): A cardboard or paper, ideally of conservation or archival quality, with a cutout window that frames the print and protects it from touching the glass as well as providing an aesthetic element.

Maculature: Pulling a second proof without re-inking the plate in order to thoroughly clear away residual ink.

Mezzotint: Intaglio printing process which works from dark to light: the whole surface is roughened with spiked rockers whose action pits the metal from all angles and provides a stubbled background that prints as a rich and velvety black. Stage two of the process involves bringing forth an image using a burnisher and scraper, which now flattens different areas of the rough burr background. When printed this creates dramatic areas of highlight and half ton, which defines the image.

Montage: The superimposition of various elements (e g.. photomechanical design elements overlayed onto a silk screened image).

Monoprint: The single, unique print produced by rubbing on a paper placed on an image freshly painted on a polished glass surface or metal plate.

Mount: A protective backing, usually cardboard or heavy quality paper, preferably archival, attached to an artwork to provide both stiffening and protection from the backboard.

Multiple Editions: Different editions of the same image, but on paper differing in quality, type of paper, and/or size; or special editions published for a certain country, or a special bound book edition. The catalogue raisonnee will document all of this.

Oleograph: A color lithograph varnished and impressed with a grainy texture to simulate an oil painting, especially popular in the C.19.

Offset: See "Counterproof".

Offset Lithography: The transfer of any image in the lithographic printing process through an intermediary, such as the rubber blanket roller of the offset press machine. A great advantage is that as the image is transferred from plate to blanket to paper (or "offset"), the final image is not reversed. One of the four major "commercial" printing methods (see also letterpress, photogravure and screen printing).

Original Print: A print whose concept and execution on the plate is, by strictest definition, done entirely by the artist, who usually signs and numbers the resulting limited edition. This is distinct from an "arm's length reproduction" which occurs with the transfer from one technique to another, such as the offset printing of a photograph of a painting. Direct involvement by the artist is key here. In addition, the "original" image as such exists only as the final printed version from the printed plate or combination of plates.

Plate: The printing matrix, originally of metal, but also used to designate the lithographic stone, or the glass matrix in the collograph and in photography.

Plate Mark: The indented line that occurs around a printed image caused by the intense pressure of the press on the plate and thence onto the dampened printing paper.

Pinxit: (also "pinx"). Lettering on a print (from Latin Pinx = "he painted it") that denotes the original artist of the work for, or from, which the plate was made.

Planographic: A print taken from a level surface (lithograph or silk screen).

Pochoir: A French process where color is manually applied to a print through a series of carefully cut metal templates. Many artists of the School of Paris (Ecole de Paris) used this technique.

Positive and Negative: As adopted from photographic terminology - a positive design is black on white; a negative is white on black.

a la Poupée: A French term for coloring an intaglio plate by hand. The different colors are daubed on with a cloth that is bunched into a shape that happens to resemble a doll or "poupee". Also used in conjunction with stencils (see pochoir).

Proof Before Lettering (Avant Le Lettre): An impression taken before the lettering on the plate (notations re: artist, engraver, printer, etc.) has been made.

Provenance: A history of a print's ownership or stewardship (e.g. libraries, museums, etc.) sometimes traceable back to the time it was first printed.

Proof: (see Artist's Proof and State Proof)

Printing Presses: Three of the four main types of the printing process require a specific type of press: (a) the Relief or Typographic (Platen) press (b) the Intaglio (roller bed) press (which can also be adapted for the relief print) and (c) the Planographic press, which relates to both lithography and offset lithography. (The fourth type of printing, silk screen, does not involve a press.) Each press can vary according to its manufacturer, country of origin and historical period. For each type of press it is the manual version that is most frequently used by the studio artist.

au Recto: Refers to the front, or image side, of an artwork

Registration: The alignment of the various plates used in multiple plate color printing, so that each plate prints in the correctly co-ordinated position. In intaglio printing and lithography the paper is lined up with pins pushed through tiny holes that correspond to matching pinholes in the metal plate or litho stone.

Relief Print: Only the raised parts of the block are inked with a roller and the carved out or incised areas are left empty. This is opposite to intaglio printing where only the grooves are inked.

Reproductions: A print is called a reproduction if it has been made by someone other than the original artist of the conceptual design. A reproductive print often passes through a series of reproductive processes such as a lithographic print of a photograph of an oil painting. Nowadays some artists are a willing party to putting out a limited edition of such a sequence, which are also duly signed and numbered. The rules concerning "originals" and "reproductions" are often bent and expanded, so it is definitely a case of caveat emptor. The best way to distinguish between "originals" and "reproductions" is to arm yourself with knowledge and experience.

Retroussage: An intaglio inking method of wiping the inked plate so that some of the ink is "dragged" out of the grooves and onto the plate surface, giving a softened and feathered printing result.

Re-strike: Any reprint of a plate made after the main edition, unsigned and unnumbered - often after the artist's death. While a re-strike is always made from the original plate, it is often an inferior impression owing to plate wear and fatigue.

Resist: The waxy or greasy ground which, when bonded to a metal plate, does not allow (resists) the penetration of the acid etching solution. Resist is also used for "stopping out" i.e. protecting certain parts of the plate to allow for controlled deeper etching in other parts of the plate.

Reverse: An image is reversed in all printing procedures except for silk screen and offset lithography. Part of the artist's challenge is to learn to work in mirror image and to compensate for this. (It eventually becomes second nature.)

Rocker: The serrated, half-moon-shaped tool that is rocked back and forth in all directions over the entire plate in order to create the roughened surface for the mezzotint.

Roulette: The engraver's tool comprising of a revolving wheel and serrated edge of various widths and designs that is used to create dots on the plate, either directly, as in dry point, or indirectly on an etching "ground".

Screen Printing, Silk Screen, or Serigraph: A print produced by the process of inking a stencil with a squeegee through a silk mesh screen.

Size: A gelatin additive that is included in the paper making process to give the final product a heightened integral strength and stiffness, as well as a certain amount of water resistance.

Soft Ground Etching: The process in which a drawing is made on a sheet of paper placed on a plate covered with "soft" (i.e. pliant) ground. Removal of the paper means that the soft ground adheres to the back of the paper where the sketched pressure marks occurred. The corresponding exposed area on the metal plate can now be etched.

Splatter: A method of creating the image in lithography. Litho ink is brushed through a screen so that it "splatters" onto the stone. The printed result, depending on the size and proximity within the dotted effect, gives half tones and pastels.

States (State Proof): At different stages in the creating of a plate the artist will check his progress by test printing or taking a "state" proof. A state will always differ in some way, even if minute, from the final edition image.

Steel Facing: A process of strengthening a copper plate for a printing edition size of, say, larger than 20. Since copper is a relatively soft metal, electrolysis is used to apply a thin layer of steel to the copper, which extends the life of image excised on the plate. Now the finished product, the print, has a guarantee of uniformity for the whole edition

Steel Plates: Although even Durer used steel plates occasionally, they only came into general use in 1810, mainly for mezzotint and engraving. The steel plate produces a particularly sharp, clean, often extremely fine line and is characteristically easy enough to identify.

Stipple: An intaglio process in which half tone is achieved by adding numerous dots. (See also Dotted Manner, Roulette).

Sugar Lift: A method using sugar granules as part of the "resist" which splits and crumbles when immersed in water. This process lays bare on the plate those areas to be subsequently aquatinted.

Surface Tone: If a plate is not completely wiped after its application to an intaglio plate, the film that is left behind creates a delicate surface tone in the printing. This lends a softened quality to the print.

Transfer Lithography: The process by which the artist draws an image with a grease pencil on a specially treated paper. This paper is then applied to the litho stone, wetted down, and in the process the paper disintegrates, leaving the greased image to adhere to the stone, which is now ready for inking and printing. The joy in this is that there is no image reversal, as well as allowing the artist to capture his inspiration without lugging about heavy litho stones.

Tusche: A grease-based ink of varying viscosities for drawing or brush painting onto litho plates or stones.

au Verso: The reverse side of an image/artwork.

Wash: Diluted tusche or ink to produce half tones on litho stones or plates.

Watermark: In the paper making process, a metal filigree symbol incorporated into the weave of the laid paper mould where the paper fibers cannot collect and coagulate. Hence, as the paper dries, the design emerges in the sheet of paper as a translucent or watery shadow image of the filigree symbol.

Woodcut: Relief print made by cutting the image into the broadside grain of a wood block using a woodcutter's knives and tools.

Wood Engraving: Relief print made by cutting the image into the cross grain of a wood block using the engraver's tools such as burin.

Engraver's tools must be used because the cross grain presents a much tougher working surface than the broadside grain.

Wood Pulp Paper: Paper made with cellulose wood tissue, which is then bleached. Highly unstable because of the lignan content and therefore very unsuitable for printmaking.

Wove Paper: Hand or machine-produced paper using a wire mesh so tightly woven that no "laid line" pattern is left behind.

Xylography: Term for early professional/commercial wood engraving. (From Greek: Xylon = Wood)

Zincography: A 19th Century term for lithography using a zinc plate instead of stone. Both zinc and aluminum come closest to approximating the ink receptivity of the original litho matrix of stone.