Varied Editions — Torcello

I mentioned in an earlier blog that some motifs inspire experimentation, and these images of S. Maria Assunta on the Venetian island of Torcello are examples of one group of techniques used to add colour to an image.

First, proofs are taken at each stage in black ink until the plate is considered to be completed. Then, by carefully inking-up à la poupée and selective wiping and/or rolling of the plate, a wide range of weather and lighting conditions, can be suggested with coloured inks. It is great fun to do, not least because the resulting prints can be unpredictable.

The plate may be inked in two or more colours. Sometimes it may be passed a second time through the press. If it does have a second pass, then the registration of the plate is crucial in achieving a crisp image.

Sometimes the plate is printed onto a new sheet of paper without re-inking. This is called a muculature, or ghost print and can produce a wonderful, soft, atmospheric image.

Using these techniques takes a lot more time and care than inking in black.

A unique inking of a plate is known as a varied edition, usually shown on the print as (VE) sometimes called a monoprint.

Here is a selection from 3 plates, showing how different the motif can look with this technique.

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©Henry Hagger 2019

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