relief etching


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relief etching

A process in which the design is drawn in acidresistant varnish and the non-printing surface etched away with acid, so that the printing surface stands out in relief (the opposite of the intaglio process).
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In The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, 1793--two fine copies of which are shown in the exhibition--Blake stated that by printing in the innovative 'infernal method' of relief etching, he was 'melting apparent surfaces away, and displaying the infinite which was hid.
As a minor wrangler in these discussions, I have to say that I believe there are very good reasons why relief etching, color printing, and the other unique processes used in the illuminated books have attracted so much more attention, but Sung is tight that we should also carefully examine the plates and blocks that he used in conventional graphic processes.
In 1788 in the process of achieving the unique appearance of his books, he invented an etching process which we call relief etching.