A method of drawing with a pen-like tool with a fine silver tip onto paper prepared with a ground covered in a tinted layer. Fragments of metal are deposited on the surface giving very delicate silvery-grey lines and a soft clarity not found in other drawing media. Over time the silver tarnishes and the lines take on more definition. The technique was widely used in the fifteenth century and is still used today.

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Dugald Sutherland MacColl, by Alphonse Legros, 1897 - NPG  - © National Portrait Gallery, London

Dugald Sutherland MacColl
by Alphonse Legros
NPG 4857

May Morris, by Sir William Rothenstein, 1897 - NPG  - © estate of Sir William Rothenstein / National Portrait Gallery, London

May Morris
by Sir William Rothenstein
NPG 3049

Edward Thomas, by John Laviers Wheatley, 1916 - NPG  - © reserved; collection National Portrait Gallery, London

Edward Thomas
by John Laviers Wheatley
NPG 4459

Sir David Piper, by John Ralph Merton, 1983-1984 - NPG  - © National Portrait Gallery, London

Sir David Piper
by John Ralph Merton
NPG 5773

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