Hell Roarin' Print Shop

Hell Roarin' Print Shop
1897 Chandler & Price at the Museum's Print Shop

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Vintage halftone portrait plates

I feel like I'm cheating a little bit by proofing these letterpress plates from the WMM on an etching press instead of a letterpress, but c'est la vie. They aren't printing as perfectly as I would like them to, but I think I have to chalk this up to the fact that the plates are quite old and sometimes warped or the halftone is damaged in areas.

Overall they are quite difficult to ink, especially on the medium gray halftones, because I cannot tell if I have inked the whole plate, low spots and all. It is also very easy to over ink a halftone plate and accidentally fill in the dots, so I can't just mash the brayer onto the surface. I actually can't really think of a time where a printmaker would ever want to mash their brayer/roller onto their printing matrix...

I found it really exciting to see the plates on the press like this, so I wanted to share them with you all.

This portrait is currently my favorite of all of them, I enjoy the how ghostly the image is and how she fades into the background. 

Some of these plates have names written on the back in gorgeous script writing that I can barely read. I'm hoping to enlist some help of the generations before me who are accustomed to reading very loopy handwriting so we can decipher who some of these women are!


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