Modern and Contemporary Art:

The Golder-Thompson Gift print collection

Wiltshire on Paper: Post-War Prints from the Bath Academy of Art

Open until 2 April, free entry

An exhibition at Chippenham Museum celebrating a unique time in Wiltshire’s creative history.

Centred on the Bath Academy of Art in Corsham, the decades following the Second World War, saw an explosion of creative printmaking in this corner of Wiltshire. The first in a series of displays celebrating the Golder-Thompson Gift to Chippenham Museum, the exhibition includes works by Clifford & Rosemary Ellis, Gillian Ayres, Howard Hodgkin and many more.

Future exhibitions:

Robin Tanner: From Goldsmiths to the Great Depression

30 July 2022 – 8 October

Contemporary Prints: The Ink on Paper Press

10 December – 25 March 2023

The Golder-Thompson Gift in memory of Arthur Norman to Chippenham Museum tells a unique story of printmaking over 100 years, focused on this corner of north-west Wiltshire.

The gift has three parts that build on the museum’s existing art collection, including:

    •  – Prints that build on our large collection of artwork and ephemera relating to renowned local artist Robin Tanner.
    •  – Prints that add a new dimension to our collection of paintings and drawings associated with the Bath Academy of Art, Corsham.
    •  – Prints editioned at the Ink on Paper Press that expand our collection of works by contemporary artists.

On this page, you can learn more about some of the prints included in the Golder-Thompson Gift through the different printing techniques used to make them.

Intaglio Printing Techniques

This is a family of techniques where the ink being printed is held in grooves and pits, created by incising or using acids to ‘bite’ the surface of metal plates.

The whole plate is inked and then wiped clean, leaving behind the ink in the grooves. The plate is then printed under pressure on an etching press; the ink is pulled from the grooves of the plate onto dampened paper.

It is common to see the plate mark embossed around an intaglio print as the plate edge is indented into the paper when it is run through the press.

An image is drawn onto a metal plate coated with a waxy coating, revealing the metal beneath. The plate is dipped in acid, which etches or ‘bites’ into the exposed parts of the metal plate.

Learn more about how etchings are made from the Met Museum here

A specialist plate is used that has a roughened surface. This surface traps the ink across the whole plate and prints a solid colour. Tools are used to smooth out areas of the roughened plate. These areas hold less ink, creating lighter tones when printed.

A sharp tool or needle is used to incise the surface of the plate. As it is incised a raised burr forms either side of the grooves, which creates a rich, fuzzy line when printed.

A technique that allows a photographic image to be transferred to a plate that has been coated with a light-sensitive photopolymer. The plate is printed in the same way as an etching.

Carborundum is used to form a paste that can be directly painted onto a plate. The paste dries hard retaining the features of how it was applied, for example brush marks. It can also be used to emboss the paper during printing.

Creates areas of tone, rather than sharp lines. Acid-resistant powder is used to cover the plate. The acid ‘bites’ around the granules forming areas that will hold the ink, creating an effect similar to watercolour wash.

Relief Printing Techniques

These techniques refer to prints made where the ink is transferred from the raised surface of the plate.

The non-printing areas of the image are removed to reveal the raised image, to which the ink is applied.

Prints are then made by the transfer of the inked areas to the paper, via a press, or by hand.

The image is cut out from a block of wood along the grain. The relief surface is inked with a roller and printed. The texture of the wood grain is often transferred to printed image.

Learn more about how woodcuts are made from the Met Museum here

Like a woodcut, except the image is cut out of a piece of linoleum or a similar vinyl material. The relief surface is inked with a roller and printed through a press or by hand.

Distinct from a woodcut, as the image is cut into the end grain of a block of wood. The end grain is much denser, allowing finer details to be achieved. The relief surface is inked and printed as before.

Other Printing Techniques

A printing technique where ink is forced through a mesh screen, transferring it to the paper. Areas of the screen can be blocked out with a stencil or by applying ink-resistant substances, such as wax, to create the image.

Learn more about how screenprints are made from the Met Museum here

Images are made on a rough surface, traditionally limestone, but now often on an aluminium plate. This technique is based on the principal that oil and water do not mix. Images are drawn directly onto the rough surface with a greasy material such as lithographic crayon. This is then ‘etched’ with gum arabic and nitric acid, which creates a grease repellent layer on the areas where the crayon has not been used. Oil-based lithographic ink is applied to the plate with a roller; the ink only sticks to the areas of crayon. The inked image is transferred to paper using a press.

Learn more about how lithographs are made from the Met Museum here

Cyanotype is a photographic printing technique where light-sensitive chemicals are applied to the paper. Objects are placed on the surface to block out areas when exposed to light. Once developed in water the areas exposed to light change to blue and the areas not exposed remain white.

A one-off print, where ink or paint is applied to the plate surface and transferred directly onto paper. Only one or a very limited number of images can be printed, and each will be different.

A technique of sticking pieces of thin paper to the heavier weight paper being printed on. This can be used to introduce colour or to pull out finer details from the plate.

A printmaking process in which various materials are glued to a plate to create a range of textures when printing.

Technique in Focus: Hand Finishing

A versatile process, where colour or collaged elements can be applied to prints at various stages of the printing process. This can include pre-preparing paper with a coloured wash then printing on top, or applying paint as a finishing touch after printing is complete.

The Golder-Thompson Gift includes many examples of prints that have been hand finished by the artist.

Ann Christophor has used different techniques to hand finish her carborundum prints. A soft graphite shadow has been added to each printed element of Changing Spaces, while a clean hand-drawn line in red connects the works in the triptych (an artwork in three parts).

Sarah Purvey applies differing amounts of hand finishing to her carborundum prints that make each one unique.  In her print Family, her mark-making in paint and chalk has almost entirely hidden the inked image, but the textured surface of the print still shows through.

Sandra Porter hand finished her print Aequietas II by painting over the whole surface of the paper with Indian Ink. The ink is repelled by the printed areas, the lighter areas on the final image, and absorbed by the areas with less or no ink, creating the darker areas of the work.

book titled a century in print in an art gallery. The abstract artwork with blues and purples on the front cover is also in the background

A Century in Print 1920-2020: The Golder-Thompson Gift (Paperback)
£12 in store or shop online

Charting a century of printmaking from 1920 to the present day, this catalogue accompanies Chippenham Museum’s series of three exhibitions of the Golder-Thompson Gift.

Richly illustrated featuring the work of fifty artists, including F.L. Griggs, Graham Sutherland, Howard Hodgkin, Gillian Ayres, Anish Kapoor and Ann Christopher. With glossary and bibliography it is a great introduction to prints and printmaking, as well as a useful addition to the print collector’s library.