Frequently Asked Questions
I want to buy fine art limited edition prints but don’t understand all the different types of prints?
Any limited number of reproductions can be called a limited edition print if it is signed and numbered by the artist. Often print runs are in multiples of 10 and can be reproduced up to 1,000 times depending on the printing technique. The list below is a general guide to a few common print types.
Etching – a process of engraving by the use of acid into a plate. Often copper or another metal. The plate is inked all over and wiped clean so that only ink remains in the engraved sections. The plate is then run through a printing press to produce multiples.
Dry point – similar to etching but the plate is scratched by hand using a pointed scribe, the plate is then inked and run through a press. The effect is often blurry caused by the burrs created by scratching into the plate.
Mezzotint – A plate, usually copper is covered in burrs using a tool called a rocker. The artist uses a tool to flatten the burrs, which will create the highlights as the inked plate will only hold ink on the burrs.
Linocut – using printing lino the artist carves out the lino using cutting tools. The plate is then inked on the surface so any cut sections remain clear of ink. It is different from dry point and etching where the incision holds the ink. The lino is then used as a plate to run off multiples.
Woodcut – similar to a linocut but wood is used as a plate.
Giclée – a print made from a high quality digital image printed onto high quality printing paper.
I am interested in collecting and buying fine art but am not sure where to start?
Always buy what you like. You are going to hang it on your wall so you need to like it.
Research the artist and find out more about them, knowing more about the artist and their work can change your perception of a piece of art.
Shop around. Artists are represented by a number of galleries and whilst they will be selling different originals you will be able to see all available pieces by a particular artist.
If you are interested in a particular piece of art but are not sure about it ask the gallery if you can hang it in your house for a while. Often commercial galleries will let you borrow a painting on loan to see if it feels right for you.
Visit art fairs to see a wide selection of art available. There are many reputable art fairs where you can buy fine art - from the affordable types like the ‘Affordable Art Fair’ brand to the more expensive art fairs like Art Basel, Frieze etc.
Visit artist studios, often this can be arranged by the gallery representing an artist. You can get to meet the artist, ask questions and even commission something special.
I want to commission a piece of fine art, how does this work?
Commissioning a piece of art is something very special as you get to have an input into the work and therefore it becomes totally unique and special to you. Usually the process will start with a discussion with the artist or a gallery about your ideas. Once an agreement has been made to go ahead with the commissioning process a series of drawings and sketches can be produced at a cost before commencement of the artwork goes ahead. This way customer and artist are in agreement about what to expect. It is worthwhile keeping in touch with the gallery or artist through the process and asking for images of work in progress.
Make sure you ask all the questions regarding cost and process in advance of paying large sums of money for commissioning work, each artist and gallery will have a slightly different way of working.
I want to buy fine art but cannot afford large sums of money what are my options?
You could always start buying limited edition prints. This is a good way to start collecting art. Prints can be bought for under £100 and are relatively cheap to frame.
Other options include payment by instalment. Many galleries offer a payment plan over three months or more that can help you spread the cost like a loan. It is always worthwhile asking the gallery if they provide this service. Don’t be embarrassed to ask.
I have bought some paintings and need to get them framed. I don’t know much about framing and am concerned about making the right choices?
When you buy fine art, ask the gallery about framing at the time of purchase. Often they will have a framing partner who they work with or may know specialist framers for more specific processes. If you have already bought a piece of art you could always go to a reputable framers to get advice. The best thing to do is to take the work into a framers and place different frames and mounts around the piece to see if it ‘fits’ the work.