Looking at old and brand-new prints through an USB microscope is revealing and with part experience can lead to your identification. Printmaking background is fascinating and a facility subject. I favor to re-superstructure in this post some an easy hints on your identification making use of the USB microscope yet heartily recommending more readings <1, 2>, due to the fact that the variety of techniques and variations is extraordinary, for this reason a critical attribution deserve an advanced knowledge. Though, also if the subject is complex, this doesn’t average we cannot have actually some great time, exploring a bit with prints. A great online resource is the IPI (Image Permanence Institute) graphic Atlas <3>.

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Pre-photographic printing techniques are classified in three key categories: Relief, Intaglio and Planographic. This post covers the an initial two.

Relief Printing

This is the earliest of the print techniques. On the relief block – wood or metal – the non-printing locations are reduced away and the octopus is used to the staying raised locations by dabbing or v a roller. Climate the ink is transferred by laying a paper of file and applying pressure.

Relief is identified by:

Edges’s rim. The procedure of delivering the squid from the block using pressure to produce a characteristic rim on the edges of the published lines. This is a authorize characterizing just relief printing.
Two us dollars bill, front side. The bright eco-friendly of the serial number shows ink pickled in salt on the edges, properties of relief printing.

RTI (Reflectance transformation Imaging) permits to file embossing better than raking light. “Il Capitano Spaventa”, R. Bemporad e Figlio editori, Firenze, 1924.


Intaglio method incising in Italian and this method was occurred in the 1500s. Top top the contradictory to relief, the octopus is held in grooves on the block’s surface.

Intaglio is identified by:

Varying octopus intensity. The key characteristic that this an approach is to show lines v varying ink intensity when in relief the strongness of the squid is always the same. Due to the fact that the grooves’ depth can be adjusted, the ink collected in it would certainly vary and also this equates in darker or paler published lines.Raised ink. In strong dark lines the ink significantly rises up from the paper.

Intaglio by Engraving

There room two techniques to reduced the present of an intaglio print, engraving and also etching. Sculpture is the oldest method and it uses a burin through sharp V-shaped cut section, which is pressed progressively down ~ above the surface of a copper plate and then driven more or less deeply v the metal. It will certainly be increased up at the finish of the heat to lift the end a sliver the copper.

Intaglio by sculpture is established by:

Shape of the line. It has actually clean edges, has tendency to it is in pointed at every end and also to swollen or diminish during its length. The controlled act that engraving likewise gives the line a official character.

Intaglio by Etching

In the etching approaches the cut is excellent by one acid and the artist can attract freely on the wax spanned copper plate.

Intaglio by etching) is determined by:

Shape the the line. Etching provides a rounded needle that passing v the wax ground offer a more blunt finish to the line than the engraving tool. And the an extremely slight wrong of the wax come either side of the line, merged with the rather uneven action of the acid, results in the less precise edge come the line 보다 in one engraving. Etched line will certainly be that the exact same width along their length, while the burin provides swelling shapes.
Two united state dollars bill, turning back side. The intaglio method is evident in A) the elevated ink in the strongest dark lines. B) dark lines accompanied by pale lines. The intaglio by sculpture is evident in C) lines are pointed and also diminish during their length.


<1> B. Gascoigne “How to recognize prints” Thames and Hudson, 2011.

<2> A. Griffiths “Prints and Printmaking” british Museum Press; second Revised edition, 1996

<3> http://www.graphicsatlas.org/


John Anderson

Hello again, Antonio.

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We bring out frequent examination the documents, including analysis of indented writing. We’ve do the efforts RTI, yet in most situations ESDA is better, and also considerably faster. The moment taken to set up, capture, and procedure an RTI photo of a document can run into many tens that minutes, and also that’s presume the capture is successful first time. An ESDA machine can expose indented wiriting in under 5 minutes!

For occasional use, and also where ESDA tools is unavailable, RTI is fine. But, any lab which desire to disclose indented composing on a continuous basis, ns strongly recomment an ESDA system. They space not expensive.