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There is still no certainty about the inventor of the monotype process.  The Italian artist Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione (1609–64) is often credited as being the earliest practitioner making brushed sketches as monotypes intending them to be finished and final works of art.  And Flemish artist Antoon Sallaert created monotypes in the early 1640s using the new technique in different ways.


Perhaps the finest creator of monotype images was William Blake 1757 – 1827) an English poet, painter, and printmaker. Largely unrecognised during his lifetime, but now considered a seminal figure in the history of the poetry and visual arts of the Romantic Age.


Few other artists used the technique until Degas, Pissarro and Paul Gaugin all using several different techniques.  In the twentieth century the technique became more popular, reaching a creative peak in the extraordinary colourful monotypes created by Marc Chagall in the 1960s

 Camille Pissaro.  Vacherie le soir, c 1890.  Monotype (From Wikipedia)Camille Pissaro. Vacherie le soir, c 1890. Monotype (From Wikipedia)











The terms Monotype and Monoprint are often used interchangeably and refer to very similar types of fine art printmaking.  Although both involve the transfer of ink from a printing plate to paper, they are characteristically different.  In the case of monotypes, the plate is featureless having no marks that will impart any definition to successive prints – they have no repeatable elements and all articulation of imagery is dependent on one unique inking, resulting in one unique print.  Monoprints, on the other hand, have permanent lines and texture features that persist from print to print.  Variations in the finished print result from how the plate is inked and worked by the artist.  With each print the variations are endless, but the permanent features on the plate will persist from one print to the next

When I'm next monprinting in the studio I'll take photos at stages and write up the methods and materials I'm using and post the result here.  Meanwhile - here's a monoprint I made a few years back.



Brown Hawkers.  Monoprint 32cm x 75cmBrown Hawkers. Monoprint 32cm x 75cm