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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
NPG D17882

Thomas Augustine Arne
after Francesco Bartolozzi
1770-1782, based on a work of circa 1770
NPG 1130

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Visit From Your Armchair

Self-portrait as My Father from the series Encounter  by Silvia Rosi © Silvia Rosi

Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize

An online exhibition celebrating the very best in contemporary portrait photography.

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Hold Still

Hold Still

Explore our community photography project, which presents a personal record of the UK during lockdown.

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Margaret Thatcher by Spitting Images Productions Ltd painted plastic, 1985

Sculptures in 360°

See sculptures and fascinating objects from our Collection from all angles.

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David Hockney: Drawing from Life

Watch highlights from our special exhibition, which had to close early in March 2020 due to lockdown.

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