A framed, unsigned, chromolithographic print of pansies.
The name "pansy" is derived from the French word pensée, "thought", and was imported into Late Middle English as a name of Viola in the mid-15th century, as the flower was regarded as a symbol of remembrance.
Chromolithography is a chemical process. The process is based on the rejection of grease by water. The image is applied to stone, grained zinc or aluminium surfaces, with a grease-based crayon or ink. Limestone and zinc are two commonly used materials in the production of chromolithographs, as aluminium unfortunately corrodes easily. After the image is drawn onto one of these surfaces, the image is gummed-up with a gum arabic solution and weak nitric acid to desensitize the surface. Before printing, the image is proved before finally inking up the image with oil based transfer or printing ink. The inked image under pressure is transposed onto a sheet of paper using a flat-bed press. This describes the direct form of printing. The offset indirect method uses a rubber-covered cylinder that transfers the image from printing surface to the paper. Colours may be overprinted by using additional stones or plates to achieve a closer reproduction of the original. Accurate registration for multi-coloured work is achieved by the use of a key outline image and registration bars which are applied to each stone or plate before drawing the solid or tone image. Ben-Day medium uses a raised gelatin stipple image to give tone gradation. An air-brush sprays ink to give soft edges. These are just two methods used to achieve gradations of tone. The use of twelve overprinted colours would not be considered unusual. Each sheet of paper will therefore pass through the printing press as many times as there are colours in the final print. In order that each colour is placed in the right position, each stone or plate must be precisely ‘registered,’ or lined up, on the paper using a system of register marks.
Chromolithographs are considered to be reproductions that are smaller than double demi, and are of finer quality than lithographic drawings which are concerned with large posters. Autolithographs are prints where the artist draws and perhaps prints his or her own limited number of reproductions. This is the true lithographic art form.