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Inverness, Antique steel engraving, 1835

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An original black and white antique engraved print illustrating Inverness, Scotland, engraved by C Mottram after an illustration by W Purser, and published in 1835. Printed on heavy weight paper.
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About Steel Engraving

Engraving is a term used to describe a number of methods employed to etch markings into a hard surface. The various techniques are often used for decorative purposes.

Hand engraving is one of the most traditional engraving techniques in existence, requiring great skill and often many years of practice to perfect. A purpose-built hand tool, called a burin, is used to mark a surface to create a pattern or picture. The method is often used for steel engraving and for engraving an intricate design onto jewellery. The technique is also used to engrave the name of a person or a team on an award such as a trophy.

Machine engraving is a less labour intensive form of hand engraving, although still requiring skill and precision. A small hand drill rotates at high speed cutting into a metal surface to allow the engraver to effectively draw rather than scratch a pattern. Like hand engraving, the method is often used for marking jewelley and trophies.

Acid Etching is an old technique used to create intricate, photographic images on metal. The method involves covering a metal plate in an acid resistant wax. An artist then etches a design into the wax using an etching needle, pressing down onto the metal underneath. Once the design is complete, an acid chemical is poured onto the piece, burning marks into the exposed metal. The remaining wax is removed to reveal the final image.