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  • Writer's pictureRachel Bebb

Explore the the world of contemporary original prints

Updated: Nov 9, 2022

Merlyn Chesterman RE - Glitter Path (Woodblock print, 36/50, 30 x 20 cms + frame, £270)

To enter the world of contemporary original prints is to embark on a rewarding journey of discovery, excitement and pleasure. Whether as a serious art collector or an enthralled occasional buyer, there is much to learn about the genre and the many ways of creating a print.

An original print is not a reproduction from a painting or drawing. It was conceived as an original work of art in the form of a print. It is created by the artist on a surface on which he or she has worked, such as stone, copper plate, linoleum or wood block. A limited edition of impressions are taken from the inked-up surface and the number in the edition is usually written on the front of the work, above the total available. Original prints are an affordable way of acquiring original works of art.

Wood engraving was a classic method of printmaking centuries before the machine age. Using the end-grain of a block of a hard wood, usually box, allows exquisitely fine detail to be achieved. Woodcuts are made using a block cut from a plank of the tree, often a soft wood like pear. The top surface of the block is inked and the image transferred to paper with a press. Each print is an original as it is taken from the block, not copied.

Buying wood engravings and woodblock prints by contemporary artists helps to preserve these classic, timeless skills. Rachel Bebb Contemporary is currently showing original prints by Neil Bousfield RE, Merlyn Chesterman RE, Sasha Constable, Blaze Cyan RE, Carolyn Genders, Flora McLachlan RE, Peter Randall-Page RA and Frans Wesselman RE.

Neil Bousfield RE - Winter Sea II (relief engraving, Zerkall paper, edition of 40 20w x 16h cms unframed, for sale framed, £385)



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