Lithographs printed from metal plates

Hand drawn lithographs but printed from zinc or alumnium plates.

Lithography is a technique invented in 1798 by Alois Senefelder and based on the chemical repulsion of oil and water. The image is drawn on the metal plate with a greasy medium. Acid is applied, transferring the grease-protected design to the plate, leaving the image 'burned' into the surface. Gum arabic, a water-soluble substance, is then applied, sealing the surface of the plate not covered with the drawing medium. The plate is wetted, with water staying only on the surface not covered in grease-based residue of the drawing; the plate is then 'rolled up', meaning oil ink is applied with a roller covering the entire surface; since water repels the oil in the ink, the ink adheres only to the greasy parts, perfectly inking the image. A sheet of dry paper is placed on the surface, and the image is transferred to the paper by the pressure of the printing press. Lithography is known for its ability to capture fine gradations in shading and very small detail.

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