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relief etching


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A method of etching in which the parts of the design that take the ink are raised above the surface of the plate rather than incised into the plate (as in conventional etching). The design is drawn on the plate in an acid-resisting varnish. The plate is then immersed in acid, which eats away the unprotected parts so that the design stands out in relief and prints can be taken in the same way as from a woodcut block. The technique originated in the 18th century, but was little used except by William Blake, who called it ‘woodcut on copper’. In the 20th century it was revived by S. W. Hayter and Joan Miró.

Subjects: Art.


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