We are pleased to present this selection of definitions for terminology used in relation to antiquarian prints, maps and globes.
An overall brownish tone to paper, often uniform but sometimes more pronounced in margins. Differs from "Foxing" (see below).
A "figure-eight" diagram found on many globes and some maps. The analemma charts where and when the sun will appear directly overhead in the "torrid zone," between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. The curves of the analemma also mark the solstices and equinoxes. The winter solstice, occurring when the sun is at its southernmost position in the torrid zone, is shown on the most extreme point of an analemma's lower arc.
A method of etching, usually on copperplate, that produces finished prints that resemble watercolours or wash drawings.
A model, usually made of rings, to depict planetary orbits, the zodiac and other celestial measurements. A Ptolemaic armillary sphere has the earth at its centre, while a Copernican or modern sphere is heliocentric.
Bird's-eye view prints
Prints showing their subject as viewed from above at an oblique angle.
A blind stamp is an embossed seal impressed without ink onto a print as a distinguishing mark by the artist, the publisher, an institution, or a collector.
A (wood) block is a piece of wood used as a matrix for woodcuts or wood engravings.
An emblem on a map or globe, often elaborately ornamented on maps, usually containing the title and maker of the map or globe, with a variety of additional descriptive information and dedications etc.
A circular paper ring for the polar region on a globe when the globe gores (see below) do not taper all the way to the poles and are flat on both ends.
A catalogue raisonné is a documentary listing of all the works by an artist which are known at the time of compilation.
A globe of the stars and constellation mapped on a sphere as if the earth were in the centre of the sphere. Accordingly, the constellation figures usually appear "reversed".
Chine applique (chine collé) print
A chine applique or chine collée is a print in which the image is impressed onto a thin sheet of paper, originally China paper, which is backed by a stronger, thicker sheet. China paper takes an intaglio impression more easily than regular paper, so chine applique prints generally show a richer impression than standard prints. Proof prints are often done as chine appliques.
Lithographs printed in at least three colours.
A chromoxylograph is an image printed in colour from a wood block.
Prints produced on cloth. Linen, cotton, and silk are frequently used.
A star like emblem from which rhumb lines often radiate. North is usually indicated with a small pointer.
A print made via an intaglio (see below) method of engraving (see below) where the matrix (see below) is a sheet of copper.
In printmaking, impressions taken from a print or drawing by passing it through a press against a damp sheet of paper. The image appears in reverse.
An edition of a print includes all the impressions published at the same time or as part of the same publishing event. A first edition print is one which was issued with the first published group of impressions. First edition prints are sometimes pre-dated by a proof edition. Editions of a print should be distinguished from states of a print. There can be several states of a print from the same edition, and there can be several editions of a print all with the same state. For limited editions, cf. below.
Prints taken on paper from incised plates. The two main classes of engravings are intaglio and relief. In intaglio engraving, the line engraved has a positive value. The line which is engraved on the plate is the line which appears on the print. Heavy pressure is applied to the plate to extract the ink from the plate to the paper. In relief engraving, the lines engraved are negatives to leave the design in relief. Relief printing, or surface printing, transfers ink from the lines left on the surface of a plate (like printing from type).
Prints taken on paper from plates incised using an acid to corrode the plates' surface.
Stains or spots, usually brown in colour, caused by impurities in the chemical composition of the paper. Common on 19th century prints.
The curved and tapered printed paper sheets of a globe.
A circular ring surrounding a globe at the equator, usually with printed information depicting the zodiac and calendar information.
A small indexable metal circle on the top of a globe, usually divided into 24 "hours" for calculating time zone differences.
An impression is a single piece of paper with an image printed on it from a matrix. The term as applied to prints is used in a manner similar to the term "copy" as applied to a book.
An intaglio print is one whose image is printed from a recessed design incised or etched into the surface of a plate. In this type of print the ink lies below the surface of the plate and is transferred to the paper under pressure. The printed lines of an intaglio print stand in relief on the paper. Intaglio prints have platemarks.
See "Paper" below.
Prints taken from a drawing done from a polished limestone or zinc or aluminum plates. The drawing is done with greasy crayons, pens, or pencils. A solution containing gum arabic and dilute nitric acid is washed on the stone (or plate). This solution fixes the design in place. The entire plate surface is washed with water and then inked. Print paper is applied and sent sent through a press, transferring a the image of the stone (or plate) to the paper.
A tonal lithograph printed from two stones or plates.
The portion of paper outside the neatline of a map or the image area of a print.
A matrix is an object upon which a design has been placed and which is then used to make an impression on a piece of paper, thus creating a print. A wood block, metal plate, or lithographic stone can be used as a matrix.
A mixed method print is one whose design is created on a single matrix using a variety of printmaking techniques, for example: line engraving, stipple, and etching.
Modern Hand Colour
An antique map or print that has been coloured recently or long after the time of publication.
The printed border or boundary of a map.
A numbered print is one which is part of a limited edition and which has been numbered by hand. The numbering is usually in the form of x/y, where y stands for the total number of impressions in this edition and x represents the specific number of the print. The number of a print always indicates the order in which the prints were numbered, not necessarily the order in which the impressions were pulled. This, together with the fact that later impressions are sometime superior to earlier pulls, means that lower numbers do not necessarily indicate better quality impressions. As with signed prints, the numbering of prints is a development of the late nineteenth century.
Lithographs printed by transferring an images from a stone or plate to an intermediate surface and then to the print paper.
Prints, maps or atlases coloured at the time of publication.
Laid paper is made by hand in a mold, where the wires used to support the paper pulp emboss their pattern into the paper. This pattern of closely spaced lines can be seen when the paper is held up to light. Laid paper often has a watermark. Wove paper is made by machine on a belt and lacks the laid lines. False laid lines can be added to machine-made paper. Though wove paper was invented in the eighteenth century and laid paper is still produced, the majority of prints made prior to 1800 are on laid paper and the majority of prints made subsequently are on wove paper. China paper is a very thin paper, originally made in China, which is used for chine applique prints.
A platemark is the rectangular ridge created in the paper of a print by the edge of an intaglio plate. Unlike a relief or planographic print, an intaglio print is printed under considerable pressure, thus creating the platemark when the paper is forced together with the plate. Some reproductions have a false platemark.
A single print is a piece of paper upon which an image has been imprinted from a matrix. In a general sense, a print is the set of all the impressions made from the same matrix. By its nature, a print can have multiple impressions.
A proof is an impression of a print pulled prior to the regular, published edition of the print. A trial or working proof is one taken before the design on the matrix is finished. These proofs are pulled so that the artist can see what work still needs to be done to the matrix. Once a printed image meets the artist's expectations, this becomes a bon tirer ("good to pull") proof. This proof is often signed by the artist to indicate his approval and is used for comparison purposes by the printer. An artist's proof is an impression issued extra to the regular numbered edition and reserved for the artist's own use. Artist's proofs are usually signed and are sometimes marked "A.P.", "E.A." or "H.C." (Cf. glossary of abbreviations) Commercial publishers found that there was a financial advantage to offering so-called "proofs" for sale and so developed other types of proofs to offer to collectors, generally at higher prices. * Proof before letters (Avant les lettres): An impression pulled before the title is added below the image. * Scratched letter proof: An impression in which the title is lightly etched below the image. * Remarque proof: An impression pulled before the remarque is removed.
The front of a map or print, also the right hand page of an open book.
A relief print is one whose image is printed from a design raised on the surface of a block. In this type of print the ink lies on the top of the block and is transferred to the paper under light pressure.
A remarque is a small vignette image in the margin of a print, often related thematically to the main image. Originally remarques were scribbled sketches made in the margins of etchings so that the artist could test the plate, his needles, or the strength of the etching acid prior to working on the main image. These remarques were usually removed prior to the first publication of the print. During the etching revival, in the late nineteenth century, remarques became popular as an additional design element in prints and were also used in the creation of remarque proofs.
A reproduction is a copy of an original print or other art work whose matrix design is transferred from the original by a photomechanical process. A facsimile is a reproduction done to the same scale and appearance as the original.
A restrike is a print produced from the matrix of an original print, but was not printed as part of the original publishing venture or as part of a connected, subsequent publishing venture. A restrike is a later impression from an unrelated publishing project.
Lines crossing maps and charts at various angles, often along compass directions to plot nautical courses.
A signed print is one signed, in pencil or ink, by the artist and/or engraver of the print. A print 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. Proof prints were originally signed as "proof" that the impression met the artist's expectation. Later proof prints were signed in order to add commercial value to these impressions.
Generally refers to smudges and dirt present on a map or print, usually caused by manipulation over time.
A state of a print includes all the impressions pulled without any change being made to the matrix. A first state print is one of the first group of impressions pulled. Different states of a print can reflect intentional or accidental changes to the matrix. States of a print should be distinguished from editions of a print. There can be several editions of a print which are the same state, and there can be several states of a print in the same edition.
A print made via an intaglio (see above) method of engraving (see above) where the matrix (see above) is a sheet of steel. Note that because the plate was usually larger than the paper in 19th century steelplate engravings there is usually no platemark.
A lithographic stone is a slab of stone, usually limestone, used as a matrix for a print. Lithographic stones are used to make lithographs and chromolithographs.
The back of a map or print, also the left hand page of an open book.
A watermark is a design embossed into a piece of paper during its production and used for identification of the paper and papermaker. The watermark can be seen when the paper is held up to light.
A print made from a carved wood block, usually carved on the plank side of the wood. The earliest method of printing, developed in Europe around 1400. The image is drawn in reverse, so that when the inked block is pressed to a sheet of paper, the print appears in the intended direction.
A print made from a finely engraved wooden block in a style that often resembles a free hand drawing. Widely used in the 19th century for illustrations in periodicals.
Some definitions adapted from the American Historical Print Collectors Society.