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Posters & Prints

Posters & Prints


Posters can be traced back to the 15th century when lithography was introduced. This was a process that enabled bright and multi-coloured posters to be printed inexpensively. It wasn’t until 1860 that the poster we would recognise today emerged and until the 1890’s that it grew in popularity when art Nouveau came into fashion. 

Before television and film the poster held all the power of visual media. Easy to produce and easy to display it had an instant effect on audiences. It was the perfect from of political advertising and was used in 1914 at the beginning of World War I for displaying war propaganda, fuelling prejudices, spurring troops, and for motivating and recruiting soldiers. 

By the 20th century the poster was being used for advertising all manner of things including goods, events, services and much more. Today the poster still plays a crucial role in artistic, social and political expression despite our digital society.




Printmaking differs somewhat from posters. The process involves creating an original design on a matrix or a material that is able to hold an image made with ink. There are various different techniques used to this including engraving, etching, woodcut and lithography. These can then be categorised into…

  • Relief – where ink is applied to the original surface of the matrix
  • Intaglio – where ink is applied beneath the original surface of the matrix
  • Planographic – where prints maintain the matrix’s original surface and prepare it to allow the image to transfer
  • Stencil – where the ink is pressed through a prepared screen

The printing techniques can also be distinguished by how the ink is transferred from the matrix to the material.  

There are various printmakers renowned for their works. Western individuals include Albrecht Dürer, Rembrandt van Rijn, Francisco Goya, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.

Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, and Ed Ruscha are pop artists who helped popularise silkscreen prints through contemporary art.  Artists such as these can have their prints sell for huge amounts at auction.