etching process is similar to Steel Plate Engraving (above) in that a
picture is formed by grooves on a metal plate, and these grooves then
filled with ink.
for etching, the metal used may have been zink, and the picture
was bitten into the plate with acid, rather than being cut in with a
tool. The process was:
Prepare a 'ground'. This is a waxy substance impervious to
acid, normally a mix of beeswax, asphaltum, pitch and gum-mastic.
Heat the metal plate, and rub the block of ground over it until it
melts, spreading the ground over the surface with a roller or dabber.
Smoke the ground with burning tapers to make it black.
Draw the picture onto the metal with a needle. This will open up
Varnish the back and edges of the plate to protect them.
Insert the plate in acid.
Remove from the acid after a period, which can vary from one minute to
Add varnish to those lines where no further action is required, then
return the plate to the acid (then repeat these steps as necessary).
Remove the varnish and ground from the plate.
Ink the plate and create prints, as described in engraving (above)
has had many engravers, including:
- John Runciman
- John Kay
- Sir David Wilkie
- John MacWhirter.
for further details.