Reference Entry

Dotted print

Gisèle Lambert

in Oxford Art Online

Published online January 2003 | e-ISBN: 9781884446054 | DOI:

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[Fr. criblé; Ger. Schrotblatt.]

Type of print made by a process of relief-engraving on metal, used by goldsmiths in the second half of the 15th century. The plates were usually made for printing on paper but sometimes for decoration. The metal used was a malleable one, such as copper, tin, brass or lead. It was cut using a hammer to hit punches of different thicknesses; on one end of the steel stem of each punch was a motif in relief that, when punched into the metal plate, created an indented cavity. These motifs included dots, crosses, fleurons, lozenges, stars and circles. The background, which constitutes the part in relief, carries the ink and appears black when printed; the hollows of the punch marks, of varying size and proximity to each other, produce the whites that make up the subject and suggest the modelling and half-tones. The white, positive part of the image is rarely composed solely of white dots, although they predominate; white strokes and hatch marks are also used. The process of the dotted manner is similar to goldsmith’s work and to the way plates are worked for tooling leather, for instance in bookbinding. Dotted prints intended to be printed on paper bear traces of the nails that pinned them down, which suggests that the plate was fixed to wood and then put through a press. Such impressions bear inscriptions that appear the right way round, while proofs with inscriptions in reverse come from plates that were probably made for goldsmith’s work (enamel) or for decorating an object. In several cases plates appear to have been reused for ...

Reference Entry.  632 words. 

Subjects: Metalwork ; Prints and Printmaking

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