Before the days of scenic photography the way to show an illustration was for an artist to go out and do a drawing or painting of a scene. This would then be passed to a talented and skilful engraver who would then engrave the view onto a metal plate. Just like the number of pixels on your computer screen the thickness of the engraved lines and how close they were together determined the quality and detail in the print taken from the plate. Ink was applied to the plate which was then wiped so the ink just remained in the engraved lines. Then the engraved plate was put into a press, a dampened sheet of paper laid over the plate and pressure applied. This resulted in the image being transferred from the plate to the paper.
You will notice on 18th century prints that the lines on a print are much further further apart than those on early 19th century prints. The earlier prints were produced using a copper plate which tended to wear out with the number of prints produced. When steel was used to engrave on in the early 1800's the lines could be closer together and as steel was so much harder than copper the plates lasted much longer with the ability to take many impressions before any wear showed.
Now these wonderful topographical engravings give us an insight into how our towns, churches, castles and scenery looked years ago. An ideal subject for the collector and available at very reasonable prices.
You may find the SITE MAP a useful resource as well
44 1244 336004
I have been buying and selling antique maps since the early 1960's during which time I opened a gallery in Watergate Street, Chester which was there 30 years, closing in 1998. I am now able to offer through my websites a personal service to map and print collectors.