The reproduction, conservation and creation of artwork through the Collotype Printing Process
Thirkell, P. and Hill, V. (2009) The reproduction, conservation and creation of artwork through the Collotype Printing Process. In: Colborne, J. and Fisherman Snyder, R., eds. (2009) Printed on Paper: The Techniques, History and Conservation of Printed Media. Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne: Arts and Social Sciences Academic Press, pp. 165-169. ISBN 978.0.9561206.3.2
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This paper will examine the work of one of the most accurate methods of printed image reproduction – the collotype. The collotype process is one of the oldest of the photomechanical printing techniques and has been used since the 1880’s for the highly accurate reproduction of photographs, watercolours, paintings, illustrations, maps and historical documents. Although its achievements (especially in the area of colour facsimile work) were rarely surpassed by any other technique used in the field, its broader use within the printing industry was economically undermined by the increased popularity of offset lithography during the 1960’s and 70’s. Due to the specialised nature of its production, it became difficult for many of the renowned firms to survive in the rapidly changing world of print. As a consequence of its near demise, little is currently known of the scope and availability of this high-end area of image reproduction. Indeed it is often assumed that its practice has become merely a thing of the past. There are however, three main collotype studios still in existence who are actively involved in the area of museum quality image reproduction. The studios – Lichtdruck Kunst in Leipzig, Germany, Fratelli Alinari in Florence, Italy and Benrido inc in Kyoto, Japan all work closely with a range of museums, collectors and conservators to produce remarkable facsimile reproductions of important artworks, photographs and historical documents. The revised and edited text of the paper presented at the 2007 Printed on Paper conference at The Sage Gateshead published as:'Printed on Paper: The Techniques, History and Conservation of Printed Media'.
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