Etching

A print produced by the method of drawing on to a metal plate, covered in a waxy, acid-resistant substance, using a metal tool, thus exposing the plate wherever a line should be printed. The etched plate is placed in acid, which eats into the plate where it has been exposed. Ink is then applied and a print taken after plate has been wiped to leave ink in the etched lines only. The tones of black or grey and the darkness of the lines that will appear in the final print can be varied by stopping out part of the design with varnish. The softness of the ground used means that it can be drawn onto freely and easily giving greater spontaneity than the engraving method (see also intaglio).

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The Wilton Diptych (relates to Richard II), by Wenceslaus Hollar, after  Unknown artist, 1639 - NPG  - © National Portrait Gallery, London

The Wilton Diptych (relates to Richard II)
by Wenceslaus Hollar, after Unknown artist
1639
NPG D17882

The execution of King Charles I, after Unknown artist, circa 1649 - NPG  - © National Portrait Gallery, London

The execution of King Charles I
after Unknown artist
circa 1649
NPG D1306

Thomas Augustine Arne, after Francesco Bartolozzi, (circa 1770) - NPG  - © National Portrait Gallery, London

Thomas Augustine Arne
after Francesco Bartolozzi
(circa 1770)
NPG 1130

Elizabeth Billington (née Weichsel) (

Elizabeth Billington (née Weichsel) ('A bravura air mandane')
by James Gillray, published by Hannah Humphrey
published 22 December 1801
NPG D1066

Lucien Pissarro, by Camille Pissarro, 1890 - NPG  - © National Portrait Gallery, London

Lucien Pissarro
by Camille Pissarro
1890
NPG 4103

John Masefield, by William Strang, 1912 - NPG  - © National Portrait Gallery, London

John Masefield
by William Strang
1912
NPG 4568

Leon Underwood, by Leon Underwood, 1921 - NPG  - © National Portrait Gallery, London

Leon Underwood
by Leon Underwood
1921
NPG 6472

Lucian Freud, by Frank Auerbach, 1981 - NPG  - © Frank Auerbach / Marlborough Fine Art (London) Ltd / National Portrait Gallery, London

Lucian Freud
by Frank Auerbach
1981
NPG 5466

Frank Bruno, by Tom Wood, 1983 - NPG  - © Tom Wood / Michael Woodward Creations

Frank Bruno
by Tom Wood
1983
NPG 6566

Stephen Conroy, by Stephen Conroy, 2002 - NPG  - © Stephen Conroy

Stephen Conroy
by Stephen Conroy
2002
NPG 6639

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