Printmaking

Welcome to our online Digital Printshop where we hope you will share our enthusiasm for antique prints. When you buy our royalty-free hi-res digital images there is no need for a licence, you pay once and are free to use the image as you wish

Our image collection covers a wide range of subjects, dating mostly from the 18th and 19th centuries, with a strong emphasis on Scotland. All our images are from original prints, mostly over 100 years old. Check out the categories on our Gallery page from where you can browse the catalogue or use the reliable search facility.

Printmaking in Europe began in the 15th century, with etching and engraving, which developed from the art of the silversmith and armourer. At the same time woodcuts were being used in the printing of fabrics. With the development of good supplies of quality paper, necessary for the new technology of book printing, came the possibility of producing multiple copies of the same image by etching or engraving on metal. Engraved prints were soon being used by artists, scientists and geographers to portray, explain and delineate the world through the new medium of the printed book.

Over the next 400 years printmaking techniques developed and widened to produce ever more ingenious methods for creating and reproducing images. In many ways these prints have become the windows into our world and a scrapbook of its history. New technologies have often created artistic opportunities and it was one such innovation which ended the domination of the print as our principal visual reference. From the 1880s onward, good photographic reproduction of images became available and soon it was possible, by this method, to reproduce any image in black and white and ultimately the realistic full colour images which surround us today.