Reference Entry

Chemitype

Pat Gilmour

in Oxford Art Online


Published online January 2003 | e-ISBN: 9781884446054 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/gao/9781884446054.article.T016258

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Method used in the 19th century to transform an intaglio plate into a relief block for the convenience of printing illustrations simultaneously with type. It was invented in Denmark in 1846 by C. Piil. In the chemitype process a zinc plate was etched in the usual way, then fusible metal filings were melted on the plate, so as to run into the incisions. When cool, this metal coating was planed down to reveal the zinc, which was then etched away with hydrochloric acid, leaving the fusible metal as a relief cast of the intaglio design. Chemitypes were exhibited by the Imperial Printing Office of Vienna at the 1851 Great Exhibition in London, but, according to Wakeman, all English books illustrated by chemitype were produced in Denmark. They include several volumes about runic monuments by Professor George Stephens of Copenhagen University, spanning the years 1866–84.

G. Wakeman: Victorian Book Illustration: The Technical Revolution...

Reference Entry.  174 words. 

Subjects: Prints and Printmaking

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