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Concise glossary of terms

Lithographic print - a common term used for a print produced by mechanical lithographic technique, as opposed to traditional stone pulled.
Etching printing technique that uses a resist liquid or ground to cover a metal plate. An image is drawn into the ground, exposing the metal that is then eaten away in an acid bath. The portion eaten away leaves an “etched” or depressed line in the plate. Ink is then applied into the depression and paper applied over the ink by using an intaglio or etching press.

Engraving / wood engravingThe image is scratched into a plate which is then inked and printed like an etching.

Foxing – simply the definition of discolouration of a print, or the print support (ie. passepartout).
Tipped in - a separately printed illustration, etc., cut to a smaller proportion of the leaf of a folio and hand pasted along the margin of the appropriate page prior to gathering. Such an illustration is also said to be a 'paste in' in some circles. 'Tipping in' by hand is a time-consuming, and therefore costly, aspect of book production – hence this process is seldom used in recent years.

Signed in the plate - a print or lithograph is said to be 'signed in the plate', if the artist's signature is incorporated into the matrix and so appears as part of the printed image. The signature is a true impression of the artist's original signature that is etched into the printing plate as opposed to a modern method such as photographic reproduction.

Plate - a printed impression.
Passepartout support – the support or matting to which a print is affixed.


Original lithograph/etching/engraving/wood engraving – an ‘original print’ is produced by any number of methods including lithography, engraving etc... The artist can be the printer although in many cases the artist personally approves the work of the master printer.

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