The production of the finest individual prints does not end with the hand printing process. When drying of the printed etchings is complete, one of the skilled watercolourists in the Thomas Ross studios will commence work, using the best art pigments available, to hand water-colour each individual print. The results justify the effort involved, making each print a "new original" and visibly demonstrating the skill of the colourists and printers craft. The clarity of colour and depth of tone achieved is unsurpassed by other printmaking methods.
Shown to the left is a print illustrating the degree to which the image is brought to life by the addition of hand colouring.
Detailed description of the colouring process -
The hand colouring of etchings or engravings is a very skilled task.
Many of the colourists working on these prints are accomplished water-colour artists in their own right, and all are thoroughly trained in hand water colouring of Intaglio prints.
Colouring must be conducted in a manner sympathetic to and working with the printed detail of an etching.
A master or pattern is held on file at the Thomas Ross studios, for each title available coloured from The Collection. This is used as a reference whenever a print of that title must be coloured.
For many of the titles which have been engraved or etched after famous original paintings the colours used are as close as possible in water-colour. (Some colours, from an oil painting for example, may be unattainable.)
In most cases research has been conducted to obtain colour references, but where no reference is available, (if the ownership or whereabouts of the original is unknown) then a colourway will have been designed that is in keeping with the style of the artist, or the print.
A few rare cases exist, where the original colours of the title are known, but a different colourway is normally used due to overwhelming customer preference. In these situations the title may be obtained to special order, coloured in the authentic way upon request.
(Right) "The Nest" etching after the painting by Sir. John Everett Millais. Colour research by kind permission of the Pre-Raphaelite Society.
Part of the charm of hand colouring, is that each print has been worked on individually, and while two prints may have the same overall appearance, the fine detail and brush work will, upon close inspection be found to show small differences. In effect each print you buy may be thought of as a new original !
Only the best water-colour pigments are used, providing a purity and
permanence of colour appropriate to this form of art.