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Giclee Limited Edition Prints from Red Rag Gallery

The majority of Red Rag Gallery British limited edition prints are giclee art prints. A Giclee is an individually produced, high-resolution, reproduction produced on a special large format printer. Giclees art prints are produced from digital scans of existing British art work and are recognised as perhaps the finest method of accurately reproducing modern British art works. The Giclee print process produces deep saturated colours and has a beautiful painterly quality that retains minute and subtle tints, blends and detail. Giclee art prints are perfect for reproducing paintings of pastels, acrylics, oils and watercolours.

The word Giclee (pronounced zhee-klay) comes from the French "le gicleur" meaning "nozzle". It is most probably derived from the French verb gicler meaning to squirt or spray. In modern British art usage it refers to refers to art made by the spray of ink from a very highly specialised large format inkjet which are used to create art prints and limited edition prints.

Limited Edition Prints from British artist Deborah Phillips

The process of producing Giclee limited edition art prints

The process of producing Limited Edition Prints from the art works of British artists is well established. The original artwork is first photographed using a high resolution, large format digital camera together with specialised lighting. The resulting digital image is transferred to a computer where the image goes through a series of colour correction procedures until the artist is happy that the colours are a true representation of the original artwork.

A set of colour profiles is chosen to suit the surface on which the Giclee art print will be printed and the image is transferred to a high-tech inkjet printer that uses high quality archival pigment based inks. The printing process involves squirting ink under high pressures through very fine jets onto the surface of the Giclee.

After printing, the Limited Edition Giclee print is allowed to dry in air. Often it is then coated with a waterproof UV resistant coating to provide protection from fading and water damage. This coating dries quickly to form a coating that also protects from scuffing during handling. Giclees are then stored flat between layers of acid free paper until Red Rag Gallery either mount the art prints or roll them in cylinders for delivery.

Limited Edition Prints from British artist John Lines

Each Limited Edition Print from Red Rag Gallery is a strictly limited series of art prints reproduced from an original British artwork. Many of the art prints sold by Red Rag have been reproduced from original art works that have been sold by the gallery. Red Rag Gallery look to produce unique artworks of exceptional quality as Limited Edition Prints. Limited Edition art prints are strictly limited to a specific number and no further Giclee prints will ever be produced from the same artwork.

Each limited edition British art print is usually signed by the artist either on the art print or on an accompanying certificate. The edition number for each art print will normally be written on the front of the print showing the unique number of the print and the number of prints in the Limited Edition series. Therefore each Giclee art print is unique by virtue of the number of the Limited Edition Print.

Limited Edition Prints from British artist Lesley McLaren

Giclee Art Prints compared to Lithographic (Offset) Prints

Traditional offset art prints are made using lithographic techniques. Lithographic prints are made up of a series of dots of the three primary colours (Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow) and black. The size and distribution of the dots creates an illusion that the eye recognises as a fuller range of colours. By looking closely at an offset limited edition art print individual dots will be visible. The image created from the original art work used in the process can be either digital or film negative but the process of creating the plates is a process much like making a copy of a copy. In addition to inferior image quality, offset art prints are more susceptible to fading caused by UV light and to moisture.

By contrast, Giclee art prints are printed using a fine spray of pigment based inks. The resolution of the resulting print is so fine that it is virtually continuous tone rather than a series of dots. Consequently a Giclee Limited Edition Print will be superior to traditional lithography in nearly every way. The colours are brighter, last longer and because the range of colours for Giclees is far beyond that of lithography, the details of each British art print are far crisper. Additionally, the archival pigment based inks provide far superior protection from the fading effects of exposure to UV light.

Traditionally British art prints created by offset printing are produced on a plate using each primary colour and black. The plate has raised patterns of dots that correspond to the distribution of that colour in the original image. Each plate is used in the printing press to print the colours one at a time by transferring ink of the correct colour to the print paper. A four colour printing press is used in this printing process and a large continuous roll of paper is used.

Offset printing presses used in lithographic printing are suited to the production of large quantities of limited edition prints and open edition art prints where the high set-up costs can be offset against larger quantities. Giclee Limited Edition prints are usually produced one at a time unlike offset art prints. The cost per print of a Giclee is higher than lithographic printing but initial setup costs are less.

Art Prints from British artist David Inshaw

Media for Giclee Art Prints

Gicl├ęs Limited Edition prints can be printed on a variety of media that includes canvas, fine art papers, watercolours, photographic paper or even transparencies. Most Red Rag Limited Edition Art Prints are produced on coated fine art paper or high quality acid free canvas.

The archival pigment inks used together with the high quality UV and water resistant coating produces a Giclee with an archival life in excess of 100 years. They are highly resistant to fading or discoloration. Because of these qualities Giclee Limited Edition prints from Red Rag gallery should not fade, crack, peel or show any loss of colour within your lifetime provided sensible art care is maintained.

Limited Edition Prints from British artist Andrew Macara

The market for Giclee Art Prints

Giclees were first developed as a proofing system for lithographic printing presses. Because of the obvious quality benefits of giclee art prints compared to offset prints, demand from the British art world quickly increased. Art collectors appreciated Giclee prints for their quality, whilst British art galleries and artists were attracted to Giclee art prints because of lower setup costs and improved detailing.

These days Giclees art prints are also hung in some British Public Art Galleries where original art works are not available. This is advantageous for art galleries because obviously there is only one individual or gallery that can have the original. Giclees are purchased by British art collectors for the very same reason.

British Artists use Giclee art prints as an additional income stream. Artists also make their art work available as Limited Edition prints to make their art more widely known, which in turn makes them more popular and potentially more valuable.

Red Rag Gallery - British Art, Limited Edition Prints and Art Prints



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