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Lithographic printing pres, c 1860.

Lithographic printing pres, c 1860.
3 1 c m
actual image size: 32cm x 23cm


Lithography, discovered in 1796 by Alois Senefelder (1771-1834), relies on the repulsion of oil and water to print from a flat surface, originally Bavarian limestone. A greasy crayon is used to sketch on the stone, which is then sponged with gum solution. The gum is repelled by the grease, making the undrawn areas ink-repellent. The stone is placed on the pres, inked, paper laid on it, and the wheel turned to draw it under a bar which preses down to make the print. This pres was used in Paris by the artist Albert de Belleroche.

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© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library

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