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Stone Lithograph

Stone lithography is a craft that was invented in the late 18th century and was the printing process most often used to produce the beautiful vintage posters of the 1800s and early 1900s.

It works on the principle of oil and water not mixing, a simple concept that produced stunning results. The artist would first draw the artwork and text for the onto a limestone slab with oil based inks (many times a massive slab) and an acidic compound would be used to etch the stone. The image of course, had to be drawn in reverse to produce a proper copy. Once the image has been etched, the limestone would be inked and then dampened with water, which is repelled by the oil based ink wherever the artist has drawn. Each color needed a different slab, and the whole process was laborious and time consuming. Print runs consisted of relatively small quantities, but the results were spectacular.