The following glossary is adapted from the following sources:
American Historical Print Collectors Society "Dictionary of Terms" (www.ahpcs.org)
Glaister, Encyclopedia of the Book. Second Edition. Oak Knoll Press & The British Library, 1979.
International Fine Print Dealers Assn. "What is a Print" (www.ifpda.com)
à la poupée print
: A print created when colored ink is applied directly into a separate area of a plate's surface and worked into the appropriate area of the design using cotton daubs called dollies, or in French, poupée.
: A print representing a universal truth by using imagery. Often using a classical theme.
: All prints printed and published before 1900 are considered antique prints. A modern reproduction of an old print is not itself an antique. The cut-off date of 1900 is not firmly fixed, however, and in many circumstances original prints made before World War II are also considered to be antiques.
: An etching process in which the artist is concerned with tone rather than line. For this technique, a plate is covered with particles of acid-resistant material such as resin and heated to make the particles stick. The treated plate is then placed in an acid bath, which bites into the copper that is exposed between grains of resin, yielding a composition marked by texture and tone.
Bird's-eye view prints
: Prints showing their subject as viewed from above at an oblique angle.
: A blind stamp is an embossed seal impressed without ink onto a print as a distinguishing mark by the artist, the publisher, an institution, or a collector.
: A (wood) block is a piece of wood used as a matrix for woodcuts or wood engravings.
: A catalogue raisonné is a documentary listing of all the works by an artist which are known at the time of compilation.
Chine applique (chine collé) print
: A chine applique or chine collée is a print in which the image is impressed onto a thin sheet of paper, originally China paper, which is backed by a stronger, thicker sheet. China paper takes an intaglio impression more easily than regular paper, so chine applique prints generally show a richer impression than standard prints. Proof prints are often done as chine appliques.
: Lithographs printed in at least three colors.
: A chromoxylograph is an image printed in color from a wood block.
: Prints depicting cities or towns.
: In printmaking, impressions taken from a print or drawing by passing it through a press against a damp sheet of paper. The image appears in reverse.
: An edition of a print includes all the impressions published at the same time or as part of the same publishing event. A first edition print is one which was issued with the first published group of impressions. First edition prints are sometimes pre-dated by a proof edition. Editions of a print should be distinguished from states of a print. There can be several states of a print from the same edition, and there can be several editions of a print all with the same state.
: Prints taken on paper from incised plates. The two main classes of engravings are intaglio and relief. In intaglio engraving, the line engraved has a positive value. The line which is engraved on the plate is the line which appears on the print. Heavy pressure is applied to the plate to extract the ink from the plate to the paper. In relief engraving, the lines engraved are negatives to leave the design in relief. Relief printing, or surface printing, transfers ink from the lines left on the surface of a plate (like printing from type).
: A favored technique for artists for centuries, thanks largely to the ease with which an etched image is created. An etching begins with a metal plate (usually copper) that has been coated with a waxy substance called a "ground." The artist creates his or her composition by drawing through the ground to expose the metal. The plate is then immersed in an acid bath, which "bites" or chemically dissolves the exposed lines. For printing, the ground is removed, ink is introduced into the incised lines, and the plate is wiped clean. The plate is covered with dampened paper and run through a press under great pressure in order to force the paper into the lines, resulting in the raised characteristic of etching.
Fine Art & Historical Prints
: Prints can be separated into two general types, fine art prints and historical prints. These types can best be understood through a differentiation of their emphasis. The distinction between the two types of prints is not clear-cut nor is it understood by all experts in the same way. Generally a fine art print is one conceived and executed by an artist with as much or more concern for the manner of presentation of the print as for its content; whereas the concern of the maker of an historical print is focused more on the content of the image than on its presentation.
: Prints depicting scenes from everyday life.
: An impression is a single piece of paper with an image printed on it from a matrix. The term as applied to prints is used in a manner similar to the term "copy" as applied to a book.
: An intaglio print is one whose image is printed from a recessed design incised or etched into the surface of a plate. In this type of print the ink lies below the surface of the plate and is transferred to the paper under pressure. The printed lines of an intaglio print stand in relief on the paper. Intaglio prints have platemarks.
: The lettering of a print refers to the information, usually given below the image, concerning the title, artist, publisher, engraver and other such data.
: A limited edition print is one in which a limit is placed on the number of impressions pulled in order to create a scarcity of the print. Limited editions are usually numbered and are often signed. Limited editions are a relatively recent development, dating from the late nineteenth century. Earlier prints were limited in the number of their impressions solely by market demand or by the maximum number that could be printed by the medium used. The inherent physical limitations of the print media and the relatively small size of the pre-twentieth century print market meant that non-limited edition prints from before the late nineteenth century were in fact quite limited in number even though not intentionally so. German printmaker Adam von Bartsch, in his 1821 Anleitung zur Kupferstichkunde, estimated the maximum number of quality impressions it was possible to pull using different print media.
Engraving: 500 (and about the same number of weaker images)
Stipple: 500 (and about the same number of weaker images)
Mezzotint: 300 to 400, though the quality suffers after the first 150
Aquatint: Less than 200
Wood block: Up to 10,000
It was only with the development of lithography and of steel-facing of metal plates in the nineteenth century that tens of thousands of impressions could be pulled without a loss of quality. These technological developments led to the idea of making limited edition prints, by which printmakers created an appearance of rarity and individuality for multiple-impression art.
: Prints taken from a drawing done from a polished limestone or zinc or aluminum plate. The drawing is done with greasy crayons, pens, or pencils. A solution containing gum arabic and dilute nitric acid is washed on the stone (or plate). This solution fixes the design in place. The entire plate surface is washed with water and then inked. Print paper is applied and sent through a press, transferring the image of the stone (or plate) to the paper.
Lithographic plates are made from slabs of limestone or sheets of zinc or aluminium and utilises the antipathy between grease and water. The image is drawn onto the plate with chalk or ink. This is then treated with chemicals to fix the grease content onto the plate. One plate is required for each colour printed. Colour is then applied to the plate and adheres only to the greasy image, being repelled by the damp areas. Lithographs show brush marks and textures comparable with drawings and paintings and in general use a wide range of colour. Between the wars, Paris was the international centre of the art world and by consequence printmaking flourished there. The majority of artists working in Paris made prints and found it stimulating. Much of the print activity of artists such as Chagall, Picasso, Miro, Matisse and Braque is associated with famous dealers and publishers like Ambroise Vollard and Daniel Kahnweiler who financed most printmaking of the artists they represented.Studios devoted to making prints, such as that of Mourlot were extremely influential and produced lithographs and etchings of a technical excellence that remains unsurpassed today. Lithographs printed in Paris by fine master lithographers such as Mourlot were produced under the direction of the artists and only in limited numbers. The stones were ground down or drilled through once the edition was complete, making later editions impossible.
: A tonal lithograph printed from two stones or plates.
: A matrix is an object upon which a design has been placed and which is then used to make an impression on a piece of paper, thus creating a print. A wood block, metal plate, or lithographic stone can be used as a matrix.
: In this method, the entire surface of the plate is roughened by a spiked tool called a rocker, so that, if inked, the entire plate would print in solid black. The artist then works from "black" to "white" by scraping (or burnishing) out areas so that they do not hold ink, yielding the mezzotint's modulated tones. Mezzotints have soft tonalities ranging from gray to black.
: A mixed method print is one whose design is created on a single matrix using a variety of printmaking techniques, for example: line engraving, stipple, and etching.
: Originally performed in the 15th century by treating a leaf or plant evenly with oil then uniformly blackening it over a flame. It was then placed between two sheets of paper and rubbed. In 1852 the technique was improved by Louis Auer and Andrew Worring in Vienna. Instead of paper, they used soft lead plates and made an electrotype of the resulting impression. It was later brought to England by Henry Bradbury who subsequently used it create fine prints.
: A numbered print is one which is part of a limited edition and which has been numbered by hand. The numbering is usually in the form of x/y, where y stands for the total number of impressions in this edition and x represents the specific number of the print. The number of a print always indicates the order in which the prints were numbered, not necessarily the order in which the impressions were pulled. This, together with the fact that later impressions are sometime superior to earlier pulls, means that lower numbers do not necessarily indicate better quality impressions. As with signed prints, the numbering of prints is a development of the late nineteenth century.
: Lithographs printed by transferring an image from a stone or plate to an intermediate surface and then to the print paper.
: Chromolithographs printed on a textured surface. Popularly used to produced inexpensive reproductions of oil paintings in the late nineteenth century.
: An original print is one printed from a matrix on which the design was created by hand and issued as part of the original publishing venture or as part of a connected, subsequent publishing venture. For fine art prints the criteria used is more strict. A fine art print is original only if the artist both conceived and had a direct hand in the production of the print. An original print should be distinguished from a reproduction, which is produced photomechanically, and from a restrike, which is produced as part of a later, unconnected publishing venture.
: Laid paper is made by hand in a mold, where the wires used to support the paper pulp emboss their pattern into the paper. This pattern of closely spaced lines can be seen when the paper is held up to light. Laid paper often has a watermark. Wove paper is made by machine on a belt and lacks the laid lines. False laid lines can be added to machine-made paper. Though wove paper was invented in the eighteenth century and laid paper is still produced, the majority of prints made prior to 1800 are on laid paper and the majority of prints made subsequently are on wove paper. China paper is a very thin paper, originally made in China, which is used for chine applique prints.
: Prints made from photographically prepared printing surfaces. A distinctive dot pattern is usually visible.
: A platemark is the rectangular ridge created in the paper of a print by the edge of an intaglio plate. Unlike a relief or planographic print, an intaglio print is printed under considerable pressure, thus creating the platemark when the paper is forced together with the plate. Some reproductions have a false platemark.
: A single print is a piece of paper upon which an image has been imprinted from a matrix. In a general sense, a print is the set of all the impressions made from the same matrix. By its nature, a print can have multiple impressions.
: A proof is an impression of a print pulled prior to the regular, published edition of the print. A trial or working proof is one taken before the design on the matrix is finished. These proofs are pulled so that the artist can see what work still needs to be done to the matrix. Once a printed image meets the artist's expectations, this becomes a bon tirer ("good to pull") proof. This proof is often signed by the artist to indicate his approval and is used for comparison purposes by the printer. An artist's proof is an impression issued extra to the regular numbered edition and reserved for the artist's own use. Artist's proofs are usually signed and are sometimes marked "A.P.", "E.A." or "H.C." (Cf. glossary of abbreviations) Commercial publishers found that there was a financial advantage to offering so-called "proofs" for sale and so developed other types of proofs to offer to collectors, generally at higher prices.
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A navigational instrument used to measure the vertical angle between the horizon or the horizontal plane at the observer, and a celestial feature. An astrolabe is used to determine the geographic coordinates of points on the Earth's surface.
A collection of maps in book or loose-leaf form, with a standard design, organized around a coherent theme. For example, a world atlas, a national atlas, or an historical atlas.
(1) A line about which the Earth or a globe rotates. (2) In respect to a spherical coordinate system, the line to which directions are related and from which angles are measured. (3) Also, a line along which measurements are made in order to determine the coordinates of a location.
From the Arabic, "al-samt" meaning the way, the direction or the arc. A horizontal angle of direction calculated clockwise from the meridian plane. Azimuthal compass direction is expressed in terms of all 360° of a circle. The term can also be called magnetic azimuth, when calculated using the North or South magnetic poles.
Maps have often been dry mounted or glued to another surface.
Bematista (the greek term is "bematistes" was the man used to measure distances for the greek people and for many ancient nations.
The decorative element on a map: scale cartouche and title cartouche.
A class of map designed primarily for use in air or water navigation. The term also applies to astronomical maps.
Most collectors have a theme for their collections.
1. Contemporary Colour
2. Modern Colour
3. Pros and Cons
(1) An instrument, which indicates the direction of magnetic North, by means of a pivoting magnetic needle mounted on a circular dial or card. The dial or card indicates the cardinal directions, and can also have directions shown as compass points (up to 32) or in degrees (360°). (2) An instrument for drawing and measuring circles, consisting of two legs connected at one end by a movable joint.
A circle drawn on a map, (usually a navigational chart) which is subdivided in a clockwise direction from 0° to 360° , with 0° indicating true North.
Ideally an old map should be in as close condition to the original as possible.
The crease on the centerfold or other fold that occurred when the map was issued can often be flattened or reduced.
The result of changing the shape of a figure from its original form.
A method of printing in which the image is etched or engraved into the surface of the printing plate and is therefore, recessed below the surface of the plate. Ink is captured in the recesses of the image and is transferred to paper under firm pressure.
The central line of latitude, or parallel of reference "0°" which divides the Earth in half.
The science which involves a combination of physical and cultural disciplines which are used to describe, explain and help us to understand our environment and our relationship to it.
GIS, Geographic Information System
A computer-based information system designed to handle georeferenced data which has, also the capability to efficiently capture, store, update, manipulate, analyze, display and output a full range of geographical data. Output can be in many forms: either as tables, graphics, or maps.
Globi Neerlandici: The Productions of Globes in the Low Countries
A globe is a small-scale model, either of a celestial body or of the heavens, covered with a map. One can differentiate between 1) the world-, or terrestrial globe 2) the moon-globe of lunar globe 3) the celestial sphere, celestial globe, or star-globe. The commercial production of globes only began after it was possible to use the printed image of a map.
A cresent-shaped map of a region of the Earth between two lines of longitude, which may be fitted to the surface of a globe with a minimum of distortion.
The meridian, or line of longitude adopted by international agreement (in 1884) to be the 0° meridian from which all longitudes worldwide would be calculated. (Also called the prime or international meridian).
A network of regularly spaced straight lines intersecting at right angles and used as a basis for rectangular coordinate map reference systems.
Grid reference system
A locational reference system consisting of a grid and a method of referring to points on the grid so that locations can be provided coordinates.
(1) The scientific study of the surface waters of the Earth, their properties and dynamics. (2) In cartography, all map symbology representing water features.
Part of a spherical reference system used to locate positions on the surface of the Earth. The angular distance in degrees, minutes, and seconds measured from the centre of the Earth to a point north and south of the Equator.
The planographic process of printing from a stone or metal plate. This process is based on the principle that grease repels water, thereby allowing the printing and nonprinting areas to be on the same plane. The image to be printed is photomechanically produced on the surface of the plate by a greasy chemical to which greasy printing ink adheres. At the same time, nonprinting areas are kept damp with a water and gum arabic solution which repels the ink. (From the Greek, "lithos graphos" meaning writing on stone).
Part of a spherical reference system used to locate positions on the surface of the Earth.
The original drawing of a map as compiled from various sources of information, including air photo, base map, thematic and toponymic data. It may be a single drawing, or consist of several overlays of information all in register and on the same base.
The process of systematically transforming positions on the Earth's spherical surface to a flat map while maintaining spatial relationships. This process is accomplished by the use of geometry or, more commonly, by mathematical formulas.
A ratio representing the relationship between a specified distance on a map and the actual distance on the ground. For example, at the scale of 1:50 000, 1 unit of measurement on the map equals 50 000 units of the same measurement on the ground.
It is desirable to have a margin on each side of at least a quarter inch on each side if for no other reason to enable framing to occur.
A cylindrical map projection introduced in 1569 by the famous Flemish mathematician and geographer Gerhard Mercator.
A line of longitude on a spherical grid reference system. Meridians also form great circles passing through the North and South Poles.
The basic unit of length in the metric system of measurement. A metre is equal to approximately 3.28 feet or 1.09 yards.
A decimal system of measurement based on the metre as the unit of length, the kilogram as the unit of weight and the second as the unit of time.
(1) A unit of angular or circular-arc measurement equal to 1/60 of a degree and containing 60 seconds, used to express latitude and longitude in a spherical grid reference system. (2) A unit of time equal to 1/60 of an hour and containing 60 seconds.
A map projection based on any commonly known projection, to which changes have been made to reduce or modify the pattern of distortion, add more standard parallels, or change the orientation to an oblique aspect.
A unit of length used to express distances over water. The international nautical mile is equal to 6 076.1 feet or 1 852 metres.
The technique and art of steering a vessel or aircraft along a prescribed course in order to reach a certain destination.
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The geographical location at 90°N latitude in the northern hemisphere where the Earth's axis of rotation intersects the surface of the Earth.
Orthographic map projection
A planar map projection which is tangent to the globe at a single point, but may be oriented at any aspect. The projection views the Earth from an infinite point in space.
Circles on a globe parallel or horizontal to the Equator, on which all points have the same latitude. Parallels run in an east-west direction.
A planar map projection in which the point of tangency with the globe is at the north or south pole. The polar aspect is the simplest form of the planar map projection.
(1) One-fourth of a full circle, or a sector of a circle having an arc of 90°. (2) A map of an area on the Earth's surface which is a quadrangle having the dimensions 15' longitude x 15' latitude.
2. Dealer catalogs.
3. Map Societies.
A curved line on the Earth's surface that crosses all meridians at the same oblique angle. Also called a loxodromic curve. On the Mercator map projection, rhumb lines are represented by straight lines that follow constant compass direction or bearing, making this projection very useful for navigation.
Very few maps have been deliberately faked to deceive but some have been reproduced and occasionally they are confused with the original. There are some obvious signs that they are reproductions.
A hand-held instrument used for navigation and surveying when it is not convenient to use a theodolite or transit. A sextant is used to measure the angle at the point of observation between a celestial object and the horizon, or between two objects.
A line on a map representing the transition between an area of land and a body of water. A shoreline can delineate a polygon representing a lake or indicate the intersection between a landmass and an ocean.
Small scale map
A small-scale map provides coverage of a larger area of the Earth than a large-scale map. There is no universally accepted map scale dividing large-scale from small-scale maps.
The geographical location at 90°S latitude in the southern hemisphere where the Earth's axis of rotation intersects the surface of the Earth.
Stains come from outside influences or might result from the aging process.
The line of latitude in a cylindrical or conic map projection where the surface of the projection either touches or intersects the globe.
Museums keep their storage areas at an optimum temperature of around 70 degrees F and relative humidity of 50%.
The orderly process of making and recording measurements of distance, direction, angle, and elevation to determine the relative location of points on, above, or beneath the Earth's surface.
The graphic elements shown on a map designed to represent geographic features or communicate a message, at a given scale.
These occur through use. Large maps were often folded and are weak at the folds.
A class of map showing the spatial distribution of a particular phenomenon in qualitative or quantitative graphic form.
A survey instrument consisting of an alidade, telescope, and vertically and horizontally mounted graduated circles, used to measure vertical and horizontal angles.
A geographical region in which the time used is the same everywhere within that region.
A class of map designed primarily for the purpose of depicting elevation (relief), as opposed to a planimetric map which only shows the horizontal location of geographic features.
The branch of geography and cartography that deals with the naming of populated places, natural, and man-made geographical features on maps.
An accurate method of surveying based on the geometric principle that if the measurements of one side and two angles of a triangle are known then the other dimensions of the triangle can be calculated.
Tropic of Cancer
The latitude of 23° 27' north, at which point the Sun reaches its greatest northerly declination (or summer solstice, for the Northern Hemisphere).
Tropic of Capricorn
The latitude of 23° 27' south, at which point the Sun reaches its greatest southerly declination (or winter solstice, for the Northern Hemisphere).
Many factors can affect value.
The horizontal axis in a rectangular grid reference system.
The vertical axis in a rectangular grid reference system.
z - value
The value labelled "z" in a 3-dimensional coordinate reference system. The z-value gives the elevation or depth at a specific "x,y" coordinate location.