Virginia Woolf Limited Edition Platinum Print

For the first time the National Portrait Gallery is making available some of its most treasured and iconic images from its collection as limited edition platinum prints.

Created from the original platinum print, all the fine details and subtleties have been faithfully reproduced in this exquisite and truly archival photographic printing process.

The second set of platinum prints to made available in 2014 and coinciding with the exhibition ‘Virginia Woolf, Art, Life & Vision’ are two portraits of Virginia Woolf,

widely regarded as one of the most important and celebrated writers of the twentieth century. The images of Woolf were photographed by George Charles Beresford at his Knightsbridge platinum print portrait studio in 1902 and are two of the most iconic images taken of her in her lifetime.

Available as individual platinum prints in an edition of 25 and as a Collectors set in an edition of 20. The Collectors set includes both portraits presented in a hand made silk covered portfolio with biographic text written by NPG curator Paul Moorhouse.

Prints are mounted ready to be framed. Price increase as the edition sells. Each print is numbered and authenticated with the National Portrait Gallery & Platinum Print Editions stamp on the verso. No further editions will be printed.

Print sizes are the same as the platinum print held within the National Portrait Gallery Archive



Price: £600.00

Members price: £540.00

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Platinum prints are loved by photographers and treasured by collectors because of their wide tonal range, surface quality and permanence. Although time consuming and costly to create, a fine platinum print exhibits a broad range of subtle tonal variations from rich velvety blacks to luminous mid and high tone values, in the deepest shadows the platinum print still presents information; the depth of the image is alive and three-dimensional.

Prints made with platinum are not only exceptionally beautiful; they are the most durable of all the photographic printing processes. The platinum and palladium metals used to create a print are more stable than gold and will last many generations greatly surpassing all other modern printing methods.

Historically many great photographers have printed in platinum including Peter Henry Emerson, Frederick H Evans, Alfred Stieglitz, Paul Strand, Edward Weston, Edward S Curtis, Irving Penn. Stieglitz called the platinum print ‘The Prince of all media,: one of the oldest, rarest, most refined, and stable of all black & white photographic printing processes.’

Platinum prints are created by hand one at a time and are far removed from the world of mass produced silver-based papers and modern media for digital outputs. There is no reliance on factory prepared materials; each print in an edition being executed individually as though is was the only example of that image, an unrepeatable dialogue between the image, chemistry and the printer's skill. Even within a short edition of the same image; each print carries diverse subtleties making it a unique interpretation in itself. Very few master platinum printers remain worldwide capable of printing editions in this highly delicate and elaborate manner.

The Printing Process

The creation of a fine platinum print is the result of following an intricate series of steps and begins with preparing a light sensitive solution containing platinum and palladium salts. This solution is then brushed onto specially selected fine art paper where it is absorbed deep into the fibres creating a sumptuous and completely matte surface. Once dried it is then placed in contact with a negative and exposed to ultraviolet light. The exposed paper is placed in a developer, where metal salts are reduced back to a metallic state forming the image. It is then carried through a series of clearing baths. The print that emerges from the final wash consists of nothing but particles of precious metals permanently embedded in the fibres of the paper.

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