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Jul 21, 2015
A couple of weeks ago we had a customer come in with 4 framed engravings. He’d bought them at an antique store and had them hanging in his house, but age had gotten the better of them and he wanted us to scan them and “freshen” them up a bit. We carefully removed the old prints from their frames to take a closer look. Judging by the weight and composition of the paper, these prints likely date to the early to mid-19th century. The Images were originally published in 1751, engraved by R. Short and published by John Boydell, these prints depict French 74-gun warships captured in the Battles of Cape Finisterre, in 1747.
The customer works in a shipyard and so these images mean a lot to him, his interest is in the history and the fine detail in the prints. Right down to the men on the Tops.
Side Note: The “Top” is not a “crow’s nest,” the Top is a platform1/3 to ¼ the way up the mast which serves as an anchor point for topmast shrouds on square rigged ships. Shrouds coming down from the topmast to the deck would be at too shallow an angle. The crow’s nest started as a barrel tied to the top of the main mast. The barrel crow's nest was invented in 1807 by the Arctic explorer William Scoresby Sr.
The goal with these prints (what our customer asked for) was to take out the yellowing and stains of age and bring out the colors present in the print.
This customer was extremely particular about how he wanted the reproductions to look. We made several test prints and tweaked the colors channel by channel at his direction to give him exactly what he was looking for.
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Our fine art printing process uses pigment based inks. Pigment printing processes have been utilized since the middle of the 19th century. The image stability of pigment printing is superior to that of any other method of printing. Pigment inks excel in permanence. A dye is molecularly soluble in its vehicle, but pigment is not. Pigment particles tend to be large enough to embed into the receiving substrate making them water-resistant. The particle nature of pigment inks ensures their archival superiority. A particle of pigment is less susceptible to destructive environmental elements than a dye molecule.
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