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date: 25 February 2021


  • Craig Hartley


Term used to describe either the intaglio process or the print made by etching a plate through a special etching ground composed of particles of resin. During the confused early history of the technique, the term manière de lavis was used. However, this led to a misleading broad definition that included any printmaking process emulating the effect of a flat wash. The strict definition above is now generally preferred.

See also Prints, §III, 2.

After stopping-out (with varnish) areas that are to remain white, the image is formed by applying the aquatint ground of resin (or a substitute of asphalt, bitumen or pitch) using one of two methods. The first is to allow the resin to settle on the plate as a dry dust, usually by inserting the plate at the bottom of a box in which the dust has previously been shaken. The plate is then heated so that each separate grain of the dust-ground melts and adheres to the metal. The second method is to dissolve the resin or asphalt in alcohol (or equivalent distillate); this spirit-ground is then poured over the plate. The alcohol evaporates, leaving a thin film of resin which cracks in the final stages of drying....

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