Purchasing prints from Hole Editions.
What is an original print and how are Fine Art Prints made?
How do I purchase prints?
The majority of the prints that you can see on the website in the artists' pages are for available for purchase wherever you see that the 'status' is available. Some prints may not be for sale, this may be because that edition has sold out. Or that it is not available for sale through Hole Editions, this usually means that it was a contract project. Impressions may still be available and you should contact the artist or artists' gallery for availability and pricing.
To purchase a print or a number of prints please contact us via the contact from, via email or via the telephone > contact
What are the payment options?
Contact us for more information about paying for prints or to make a purchase > contact
What is the cost of postage and packaging?
Postage and packaging is free to UK destinations. Prints will generally be flat packed and sent by a tracked postal service such as 'Signed for' or 'Special Delivery.'
To all other destinations postal costs will be calculated based upon volumetric weight of the packaged impression. An estimated quote can be obtained for you. We will cover the first £10.00. There may be also be customs charges.
Can I return the print(s) if I am not satisfied?
Yes. You can return prints up to 14 days from purchase and we will return your payment if you are dissatisfied for any reason. If you choose to return work, it must be in the original packaging and in perfect condition and you will be responsible for the freight costs.
What is a fine art original print?
Basically, it is a print made by using a press to transfer an image that was created initially on stone or metal plate to paper. Although the term can refer to commercially reproduced images - such as those on posters or in magazines - a fine art original lithograph is an image made by an artist who works closely with a professional printer.
What is the difference between a lithograph, an etching, serigraph, etc.?
Lithographs differ from etchings, engravings, serigraphs and woodcuts in materials and process. For example, etchings and engravings are printed from a metal plate with incised lines while a lithograph is made from a chemically treated, flat surface. A serigraph is a silkscreen print, and woodcuts are printed from blocks of wood carved in relief.
How is a lithograph made?
> 4 Minute Litho - a short film of the making of a lithograph
4 Minute Litho - step by step explanation in pictures
First an artist draws an image, in reverse, on a fine grained stone or aluminium plate. For a one-colour lithograph, this will be the only drawing. Each additional colour will generally require a separate stone or plate.
Artists use the same kinds of tools they would for images on paper or canvas. However, since the basic principle of lithographic printing is the natural repulsion of grease and water, the crayons, pencils, and washes used in lithography have a high grease content. Once the artist has finished drawing, the printer takes over and chemically treats the stones and/or plates to stabilise the image for printing.
The printer first sprinkles resin on the surface to protect the drawing. Then he or she powders the surface with talc which helps the chemical etch lie more closely to the tiny grease dots which compose the drawing. A solution of gum arabic with acid (called an "etch") is applied to the stone and left for about an hour. Often a second etch is applied before the printing base, called asphaltum, is buffed in. This process causes the image area to accept the greasy printing ink, and at the same time, causes the stone's blank areas, when moistened with water, to reject the ink.
At the press, the printer sponges the stone or plate with water, rolls it with ink, and prints a series of trial proofs for the artist to see. The printer continues to make proofs with different colour and paper combinations until the artist is completely satisfied with the result. This final proof is signed by the artist as the bon à tirer ("good to pull"). With this as a standard, the
printer is ready to pull the edition.
What is an "edition" of prints?
Edition refers to all impressions of a particular image that are printed after the artist has given an approval to print. Generally, the edition includes all numbered prints, the artist's proofs, the bon à tirer, which is given to the printer, and 3 impressions for workshop archives. All impressions, including the trial proofs, colour trial proofs, and artist's impressions, are documented.
What do you mean by "Pull" and why do you refer to prints as "impressions"?
To pull a print simply means to print an impression, and impression refers to any one of a number of nearly identical images pulled from the same printing elements.
In a multicolour print, how does the printer get the colours in exactly the right places?
Generally the same piece of paper must pass through the press as many times as there are different colours. This process requires exact registration with each run through the press. Registration ensures that each colour or component of an image is printed in exactly the right area. The printer makes tiny pencil marks on each sheet of paper to be printed, and lines them up to correspond with marks on each stone or plate. This way, each impression in the edition is consistent.
What are artist's proofs and how many should there be?
Artist's proofs (sometimes designated A/P or E/A- french, épreuve d'artiste) are impressions just like those in the numbered edition. They are set aside for the artist's personal use. Workshop will often limit the number of artist's proofs to a maximum of five or up to ten percent of the signed and numbered impressions.
Who determines the quantity of numbered impressions?
Generally the artist and the workshop decide together before the edition is printed. These days, the number is rarely more than fifty numbered impressions and is often considerably smaller. The edition size is often a very good clue to determining if the prints were printed by hand, or if they are part of a large, mechanically produced edition.
If all the prints in the edition are sold, do you print more?
Never! After the artist signs and numbers each impression in the edition, all stones and plates are effaced and regrained for future use.
What do the numbers on prints mean?
Usually there are two numbers separated by a slanted line- 25/30. The bottom number tells you how many impressions there are in the numbered edition; the top number is simply the specific designation for that impression.
Are some prints in the edition more valuable or better than others?
No. In contemporary print editions, an impression with a lower number is no more valuable or better than an impression with a higher number. This popular misconception probably stems from the time when very large editions of prints were made and impressions were sometimes pulled after the printing element began to wear out, resulting in impressions that were not as "crisp" as the first few printed.
More importantly, it is also true that prints are not signed and numbered in the order in which they were printed. Uniformity among impressions is assured because the curator checks each impression against the bon à tirer. Only those impressions meeting high standards are embossed with the identifying symbols, called chops, of the workshop and the printer; any flawed impressions are destroyed.
If I'm buying a print, should I make sure it has chops?
The chops are important identifying features, but not all original, limited edition prints will have them. Artists who print their own work may not use them. You should, however, always ask for documentation.
What kind of documentation should I ask for?
Most reputable printshops and galleries have a documentation sheetfor each of their prints, giving a complete description of the print and the steps involved in its making. These documentation sheets are available to anyone who asks.
Do documentation sheets guarantee a print's originality?
Not necessarily. Unfortunately, documentation sheets can be misleading. Read the sheets carefully and ask questions about anything that is unclear. If you are in doubt about a print's authenticity or value, it's best to check with a reputable dealer or a museum print department.
Are prints that are photomechanically produced "fakes"?
Not necessarily. The important distinction here is between the words produced and reproduced. If an artist and a printer agree to use photographic means to print an image originally conceived for that particular print, which is both limited and documented, then it falls within the concept of an original print. However, a print that exactly reproduces an existing image (such as a painting), in another medium, would not normally be considered an "original work of art."
Suppose I do buy a fine art print. Where do I go to get it properly framed?
Ask for references from knowledgeable friends, print dealers, or museums. Since improper framing can permanently damage your print, it's important that you find a professional framer who uses archival materials.
Can Hole Editions organise the framing for us?
Framing can be organised on your behalf, we do have some examples in the workshop, although it is highly recommended that you arrange a consultation with a professional framer. Just like selecting a print, choosing the right frame is a personal aesthetic discisson.
What does that mean - "archival" materials?
Basically, the framer is assuring you that everything that comes in contact with the print is pH neutral, or acid-free. This means that nothing in the framing materials will alter or destroy the paper or inks of the print.
How could non acid-free materials harm my print?
Matboard which is not chemically inert and free of acid transfers its acidity to the paper, which over time causes it to turn brown (known as mat burn), become brittle, and even to disintegrate when removed from the mat. Museums recommend that mats be made from 100 percent cotton rag matboard, at least two-ply in thickness. A less expensive alternative is "conservamat", or conservation board, which is made from highly purified pH neutral wood pulp. Some fabrics like linen, cotton, and silk are also safe to use.
Do I need to have a mount around my print?
No. A window mount is a matter of personal taste. Often a print with a large border is simply hinged to a backing - this is called "floating" the print - and requires a spacer, hidden by the edges of the frame, to keep the print from touching the glass in the same way that a window mount does. A window mount may cover the edges of the paper if you prefer (although the edges are considered to be an integral part of the print) or the print may float within the window.
You mentioned hinges; what do you mean?
Prints are never glued or taped directly to a backing with double-sided tape; hinges made of linen or fine Japanese paper hold the print to the backing with nonacidic, non-staining, reversible adhesives.
Why shouldn't my print touch the glass?
Both glass and acrylic sheeting (perspex/plexiglass) condense moisture from the air, and if your print touches either, it may actually stick to the surface and be ruined.
Which is better - glass or perspex/plexiglass?
Both will protect your print and filter some of the harmful rays of light. Glass is cheaper, but it breaks easily. Ultraviolet filtering glass and perspex are available at a higher cost. Since glass is heavier than plastic, it may be impractical for very large prints. Always use clear glass and not the non-reflective type. Perspex although lighter, is more expensive than ordinary glass, scratches easily, and carries an electrostatic charge which causes it to attract dust. With time, perspex also tends to sag in the centre, possibly touching your print.
How can light damage my print?
Bright daylight and even bright artificial light can cause colours to fade and papers to discolour and become brittle. Too much light is harmful even when ultra-violet rays are filtered out, so make sure your print is exposed to moderate light for limited hours at a time. Think, too, of rotating your print collection from time to time to give them a rest.
What if I want to store my prints?
When handling unframed prints, make sure you work with gloves or very clean hands. Finger smudges, dirt, or dents and tears caused by carelessness will affect the value of your print. If you must handle your print, lift it by diagonally opposite corners to avoid creasing. Prints should be stored flat, either in or out of mounts, layered between sheets of non-acidic interleaving tissue. Never put your prints on surfaces like corrugated cardboard or wood; not only are these materials acidic, they also have textures that can imprint themselves on your artwork. Needless to say, your storage area should be clean, dry and protected from insects and vermin. Cockroaches, fishmoths and mice are common despoilers of paper. Simple, relatively inexpensive nonacidic boxes will protect your prints from environmental acidic boxes will protect your prints from environmental damage; they are available from art and preservation suppliers.
What if i need to transport my prints?
If a print can be transported flat, it is best to place it between two sheets of acid-free tissue paper, sandwiched between two sheets of stiff corrugated cardboard cut larger in size than the print to be packed. If prints need to be packed in a tube for mailing or airline flights, use a large diameter tube so that the print won't be rolled too tightly. Sandwich the print between two sheets of thick card, which are bigger than the print, and roll them up together. Tape this roll closed to prevent it from springing open in the tube. Detailed packing instructions are available on request.
How can I keep up with the current value of my print?
Most reliable printshops keep records. Galleries, art appraisers, and large auction houses that handle prints may also be of assistance. Websites like artprice.com are also a useful guide, as is the International Fine Art Print Dealers Association.
The following list of books or videos may help to further inform you about lithography and prints.
Antreasian, G. and Adams,
The Tamarind Book of Lithography: Art and
Techniques · New York: Harry N. Abrams 1971
Tamarind Techniques for Fine Art Lithography by Marjorie Devon
Tamarind Lithography Workshop, Inc.
Four Stones for Kanemitsu (VHS/DVD 28 min.)
1973 (distributed by Tamarind Institute)
Stone Lithography (Printmaking Handbooks) by Paul Croft
Plate Lithography (Printmaking Handbooks) by Paul Croft
Conseil québécois de l'estampe,
A Code of Ethics for the Original Print 1990
How to Identify Prints
New York: Thames and Hudson 1986
Clapp, Anne F.,
Curatorial Care of Works on Paper
Oberlin, Ohio: Intermuseum 1978
Conservation Association, Ellis, Margaret Holbein
The Care of Prints and Drawings
Nashville, Tennessee: AASCH Press 1987
Boston Museum of Fine Arts
How to Care for Works on Paper · 1985