Mezzotints

The mezzotint is a type of intaglio print. The mezzotint technique of printmaking was invented in the 17th century and was originally used to make portraits and reproductions of paintings until the invention of photography and lithography. To make a mezzotint, a metal plate is roughened until it prints a rich, velvety black.  This is usually done with a tool called a rocker. The plate is then worked back toward the lighter values with burnishers and scrapers. Once the plate work is finished, the editioning begins. For each print in the edition, the plate is inked and wiped by hand then run through a press under tremendous pressure onto dampened paper. Each print is marked (in a fraction format, i.e. 2/15 = 2 of an edition of 15) as to which number in the edition it is.