limited Edition Gallery sell cool collectable coveted contemporary and affordable original and limited edition art
Definitions & Glossary


What is an original?

Most of us are happy with the concept of an original artwork as being a singular one off thing. An artist applies paint to a canvas and a unique original is created, Ok no problem with that. But an artist may decide to create a particular work using a ‘Printmaking’ method producing, now wait for it, more than one original! Hmmm perhaps this isn't sitting so easy, but these prints are genuinely originals and refered to as 'original prints' or 'multiple originals' each individual print is called an 'impression'. This is no new thing, original prints have been produced through the centuries by some fairly well known chaps including Rembrandt, Matisse, Picasso and Warhol to name but a few. I'm sure most of us would be quite happy to have one or two of their original prints adorning the livingroom wall. I know, some of you do!

Artists may adopt techniques such as woodcut, copper plate etching, limestone lithography, silk screening or many other methods to produce one or multiple original prints. What makes them original is that they are not a copy of an already existing original such as a painting or drawing. Great care and craftmanship is required to create consistency of quality through an edition from the first impression to the last. Original prints represent very good value for money as they will tend to be significantly cheaper than a one off from the same artist.

The original prints made via fine art printmaking techniques are made in ‘limited editions' usually numbered to show the unique number of the print/impression over the total number of prints in the edition, for example 1/90, 2/90, 3/90 etc and often signed by the artist. Prints marked A/P mean these are the 'Artist's Proofs'. They are the first few prints that the artist approves the quality of, they are used as the datum or reference for all the other prints to be matched to so there is consistency throughout the edition. The printing process itself naturally limits the edition by wearing out the blocks, plates or stencils used to produce the prints. Alternatively the artist may decide to limit the run to just a few prints and then destroy the still serviceable blocks, plates or stencils so no more impressions can be produced.

What about photography and digital art I hear you say. Artists producing artwork through photography with film and chemicals or using digital capture and computers and or printing chemically or digitaly with digital printers are producing original prints.

Reproductions on the other hand, and this is what makes the difference, are 'copies' of an original artwork. These are not originals. However, it is the accepted practice for artists to produce ‘limited edition’ numbered and signed reproductions of their work. Such limited editions are often made in collaboration with highly experienced print makers and craftsmen who can help the artist produce prints faithfully close to the original. Again these signed limited edtion reproductions can represent very good value when compared to buying the artist's original work. Limited edition reproductions should not be confused with low quality mass produced open edition posters.

Full discloser should accompany every print stating whether the artwork is an 'original print' or a 'reproduction' along with the print method and materials used.



A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z



Acid-free paper
Paper and mount board with no acid content resist deterioration from age. These papers are referred to as archival or neutral pH paper. Older artworks displaying brownish-yellow stains have probably been contaminated by the acid present in the paper and or mount. Limited Edition gallery .Com uses only acid free materials.

Acid migration
The transfer of acid from an acidic material to a less acidic or neutral-pH material. Occurs when neutral materials are exposed to atmospheric pollutants or when two paper materials come into contact. Acid can also migrate from adhesives, boards, endpapers, protective tissue and paper covers. Limited Edition gallery .Com uses only acid free materials.

A - sizes
International paper sizes.
A0  841 x 1189mm
A1  594 x 841mm
A2  420 x 594mm
A3  297 x 420mm
A4  210 x 297mm
A5  148 x 210mm
A6  105 x 148mm

Artist's Proof

Wikipedia Defintion of "Artist's Proof'


Archival paper
A paper with longstanding qualities, acid free with very good colour retention. Used in conjunction with the correct ink, prints on these papers will last well over 100 years.

A process used in etching to obtain a tonal range that creates an effect simillar to an ink wash or watercolour.



The effect produced by dusting wet ink after printing and using a metallic powder.



Chlorobromide print
A black & white photographic print giving warm brownish deep reflective black tones contrasting with crisp whites. The paper is coated with a mixture of silver chloride and silver bromides and has good archival properties.

The strength of a colour as compared to how close it seems to neutral grey. Also called depth, intensity, purity and saturation.

Cibachrome (R-type) print
R-type (reversal type) photographic paper that uses a positive image (transparency or slide film) to print from rather than a negative. An extremely high gloss photographic paper manufactured by Ilfachrome and introduced in 1963. A silver dye-bleach process that forms an image by selectively bleaching dyes within the paper. Often used by photographers in conjunction with high contrast Kodak Kodachrome film to produce prints with striking saturated colours.

Cyan, magenta, yellow and black. CMY are the three primary colours used in printing processes. Black is introduced to boost the dark tones. CMYK printing is a subtractive process, you start with white light reflecting from a white surface. CMY is applied to the surface subtracting wavelengths from the light giving it colour. Equal amounts of CMY will subtract most of the white light giving near black.

In a printmaking context this refers to keeping paper in the pressroom for days prior to printing so that its moisture level and temperature equal that in the pressroom. Also called cure, mature and season.

C-Type print
C-type (chromogenic) photographic paper is commonly used to print colour photographic negatives.

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Dots Per Inch. A measure of output resolution of an inkjet printer but commonly used to express the resolution of digital images and monitors. Digital image and monitor resolution should really be expressed as PPI pixels per inch.

A print medium designed to be illuminated from the back of the print.

Dye based inks
These inks dissolve completely in solution and are absorbed by the paper they are applied to. Dye based inks are enhanced by optical brighteners that help produce bright vivid colours. They are very good when it comes to fine detail in a print. However they are fragile and being soluable are susceptible to running when in contact with water. Sunlight will cause fading to a dye based ink print much faster than a pigment based ink print.



Many artists produce limited edition prints whereby the individual prints are hand finished to an extent that makes each print unique.

A printmaking technique whereby a metal plate, commonly copper or zinc, is initially covered in an acid resisting material, the material is worked away to the artist's design exposing the metal. The plate is immersed in an acid bath whereby the exposed metal is bitten by the acid. The plate is then washed and has ink applied across it. The surface ink is then wipped off leaving ink only in the bitten areas. The ink is then tranfered to the paper under pressure in an etching press.





The term used by some artists to describe the embossing of a print. Sometimes used to hand embellish a print after the ink process is done. It also goes by the Japanese name of ‘Karazuri’ literally meaning ‘empty printing’.

A term used to describe a high quality digital inkjet print process.



High dynamic range
Otherwise referred to as HDR. This is a term used by digital photographers to capture an incredible range of tones from a scene. More often than not because of the nature of the initial image capture, subject matter, tends to be a location or landscape. Exposures are made in camera for the highlights only. Then the mid tones of the scene, then the shadows. All the separate images are brought together in an editing program to produce the final image.

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The process of cutting or etching a design into the surface of a metal sheet or flat stone. The etched impressions are inked, excess ink being wiped from the flat surface of the metal or stone. The ink is transfered from the ink filled incisions onto the paper under high pressure in an etching press.
The reverse of this process is termed 'relief' printing, the non-printing areas of the metal or stone are cut away and it is the remaining original flat surface that is inked and transfered to the paper.




A photographic print process that incorporates three lasers merged into a single beam to expose images onto photosensitive materials. The photosensitive material is wet processed in much the same manner as traditional photography. The resultant prints are ultra sharp and can be printed to large sizes edge to edge with no distortion. This process is often used with C-type photographic papers.

Limited Edition
An edition of a single artwork limited in the number produced. The total number of works in the limited edition is declared on each artwork together with the unique number of that particular piece. The unique number of the artwork is traditionally displayed as a fraction of the total.

Traditionally the artist draws their design onto a flat stone surface, usually limestone, using water repellant greasy crayons or pencils. The process relies on the fact that oil and water will not mix. Water is then wiped onto the unpainted area to discourage the ink from smearing. An oil-based ink is applied to the plate where it bonds to the greasy lines drawn by the artist. The paper in contact with the stone is then pressed. Today polymer sheets are taking the place of stone allowing artists to use ordinary pens to draw on the surface of the sheet. The process is still very time consuming.

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Pigment-based inks
These inks are made up of tiny encapsulated particles of pigment, that sit on top of paper instead of being absorbed by the paper like dye-based inks. Pigment ink is archival, used with the correct type of paper, prints can be stable for well over 100 years. Pigment ink is also resistant to sunlight exposure unlike dye-based inks. The drawback with pigment-based ink is it does not have as wide a colour gamut (colour range).

Platinum prints
Otherwise known as platinotypes are monochrome (black & white) photographic prints with the greatest tonal range of any chemical development process. With the platinum print process the platinum (and palladium) lies on the actual surface of the print paper unlike the silver print process. With the silver print process the silver is held in gelatin or albumen emulsion that coats the paper. Because the platinum is slightly absorbed by the paper and no reflective gelatin is used the print is absolutely matt with a deposit of platinum.
Platinum prints are able to show detail from the darkest shadows of a print to the bright highlights overall they have a delicacy of tone and warmth unmatched by any other photographic process. They may well be expensive to produce but are treasured by photographers and collectors alike. The platinum is so stable that it is thought such prints may last thousands of years.

Pixels Per Inch. A measure of the resolution of monitors and digital images.

A method of creating an image which is repeatable.



All printmaking processes whereby the non-printing areas of the plate or block are engraved, etched, cut or carved away. Ink is applied to the remaining surface and transfered to the paper.
The reverse process is termed 'intaglio' printing.



Screen print
A printing method using stencils to form an image by passing ink through a silk (or other fine material) mesh. The stencil held in place by the mesh itself holds back the ink but the bare mesh allows ink through to the substrate (paper). Each layer of ink has to dry before the next colour is added. Different stencils are used at different times during the process to build up the image. Often as not the whole edition of the print run has to be printed at one time.

Scrapper Board
A method of creating a unique monochromatic artwork. The scapper board is made up of three layers, the board, a thin layer of white chalk and a top layer of dark ink which is baked to form a hard surface. The ink is scrapped away to reveal the white chalk beneath.

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