Guide and Glossary
Papers, canvases and types
GSM (grams per square metre) is the standard measurement for paper quality, higher gsm denoting a higher standard. As a standard for comparison, typical home office paper is 80gsm, and business cards are around 300gsm.
Fine Art Paper
The Fine Art Paper used at Gates Museum is acid and lignin free 230gsm, meaning the image won’t fade over time. The smooth finish is ideal for all image types – particularly photography.
Our heaviest paper at 280gsm, watercolour paper is textured, making it particularly well suited to reproductions of paintings and drawings.
The term poster covers two main areas of reproduced images. The first area covers poster reproductions of film stars, cartoon characters, etc. These are normally budget items, intended for unframed ‘back-of-the-door’ display. The other type of poster is an image produced mainly for advertising purposes, such as movie or theatre posters. These come in a number of styles and are often avidly sought after by collectors.
Canvas print images are printed directly onto 220gsm ultra-fine mesh synthetic canvas fabric. This man-made substrate ensures a consistent high quality of finish. The giclée printing process can accurately reproduce any image style, from photography to watercolour. Unlike normal printing, which is made up of many minuscule dots, the printing process achieves almost continuous colour, due to the unique way the ink spreads on the paper. The pigment based inks we use have are highly fade resistant and in normal light conditions should last for at least 25 years. Canvas prints are usually stretched around an internal wood frame.
Gates Museum’s canvas transfer technique allows you to have a canvas finish on almost any print. Our skilled framers trim away any border from the print and place it on a special grade canvas with a heat activated adhesive tissue between them. A textured overlay is added and then placed in a specialised heated vacuum press where it is slowly warmed to 100 degrees centigrade, which forms a permanent bond between the print, canvas and overlay. At the same time as being heated, the vacuum within the press ensures the print remains completely flat and bubble free. An internal sub-frame is constructed to precisely fit the picture. The corners are carefully mitred and then joined using both adhesive and specially shaped staples that ensure the frame remains stable throughout its long life. Finally, the canvas is stretched around the internal frame, tensioned and fixed at the rear. Once the artwork has passed final inspection, it’s ready to be hung and admired!
Photographic images are created using cameras, traditionally with film, but now increasingly with digital technology. Our photographic images are carefully reproduced on a variety of quality art and photo papers, typically of 200gsm or more. Every photo print is a faithful reproduction, capturing the detail and style of the original.
A limited run of reproductions, with a print run of fewer than 300 prints. Usually, each print is signed and numbered by the artist, although there are exceptions to this rule. Full details can be seen in the product item information. Often thought of as a collector’s item, a limited edition is a great purchase for any art lover.
Giclée printing is a modern method that produces the highest quality digital reproductions. Meaning ‘to spray’ in French it uses an inkjet printer to apply millions of droplets in layers. This fully captures the details, colouring and textures of an original image. The technique creates the most accurate reproductions of original artworks. Giclée prints are now the industry standard for museums and galleries.
Using a thin coating of wax, the artist creates an image on a fine mesh screen. Traditionally, silk was used, but now special man-made fabrics are used. A screen is created for each colour that is to be laid down and then ink is forced though the screen using a sponge-like device, creating an impression of the original image on the paper. This is done one colour at a time, normally to a maximum of 4, with the print set aside to dry after each impression. Unsurprisingly, this is a time-consuming and highly skilled process!
These authentic prints are produced using genuine steel or copper intaglio plates, some of which date from as far back as the 18th century. Each impression is crafted individually by hand, in the same manner as the copperplate printer of centuries ago. Coloured versions are painstakingly hand-coloured by skilled artists, creating instantly collectible quality items. Each image is surrounded by a ‘plate mark’, which provides a natural border and contains the original engravers wording.
Are printed on high quality archival papers, using specialised inks. These reproductions have the remarkable colour saturation and continuous tone characteristics one would expect from an original painting. In fact, with an apparent visual resolution of over 1800 dots per inch, distinguishing a gouttelette from an original can be very difficult, even to the expert eye. Gouttelettes are generally printed onto acid-free calcium carbonate-buffered archival watercolour paper. In terms of light-fastness, the ink and paper combinations used meet the standards of both the Fine Art Trade Guild’s blue wool scale and those of Wilhelm Imaging Research in America.