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Introduction and history of Art Prints

Red Rag Gallery is one of the leading UK Art Galleries for Limited Edition Prints from present day British Artists and Irish Artists. The gallery regularly ships Limited edition prints art prints and in the process receives many testimonials from happy customers throughout the world. The information below is intended as a brief introduction, for art collectors who are interested, in the history and development of British art prints and limited edition prints.

Limited Edition Prints from British artist Stephen Brown

Today we take for granted that there is a vast choice of art prints and limited edition prints. It is hard to imagine a world in which every image was unique. Yet prior to the fifteenth century, images were not only one-of-a-kind but rare, generally found locked away in palaces, to which few had access, or affixed to the wall of a church. The technology of making prints, which first fell into place around 1400, suddenly made it possible for hundreds or even thousands of essentially identical images to be produced from a single matrix of carved wood or metal.

The initial demand driving the early print market was the desire for playing cards and inexpensive devotional images. Prints provided a means of mass-producing these objects that brought them within the reach of even the poorest members of society. By the early sixteenth century, the potential of the print medium was being fully exploited and had a decisive impact on the history of art.

While many of the techniques necessary to produce prints were known before the fifteenth century, it was the widespread availability of paper that made printmaking feasible. The first paper mills in Germany and Italy opened by the 1390s, around the same time that the first woodcuts were produced. By the middle of the fifteenth century, prints were also being produced using the intaglio (cut or incised) technique.

Limited Edition Prints from British artist Susan Brown

As printmakers searched for new ways to introduce shades of gray into the typically black and white print, new techniques were developed. Mezzotint, invented in the seventeenth century, became especially popular in the eighteenth, a period of great experimentation. Many new techniques evolved in the eighteenth century to enable prints to mimic the appearance of drawings. Aquatint, which approximated the appearance of wash drawings, was the most popular. Printmaking in the nineteenth century was characterised by an even greater variety of media. Many artists found ways to introduce colour into their prints and experimented with combined techniques, while an entirely new method of printing, lithography, allowed artists the most direct means of creating multiple images from drawing.

Today the leading print making technique for Limited Edition prints uses Giclee technology. Giclee art prints started developing in the mid 1980's when Graham Nash and Jon Cone noticed the high quality of the Iris ink-jet printers output. They developed inks that gave fine art reproductions the longevity and colour gamut that was required. The Iris printer became the first one associated with museum quality fine art.

Limited Edition Prints from British artist Roy Hodrien

For the contemporary limited edition print range Red Rag Modern art gallery has brought together the best of British art into a specially selected series of signed limited edition prints. Each signed limited edition print is also individually numbered by the artist. Leading techniques used in creating fine art prints for Red Rag Gallery include Canvas art prints transfer, Original art print etchings and Giclee art print technology and Lithograph printing. For further details on types of art print see our Art Glossary.

Buying Limited Edition Art Prints from Red Rag is simple with usually a next day delivery service.

For more information or to buy art prints:

CONTACT RED RAG NOW on 01451 832563 or outside UK + 44 1451 832563

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



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