Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Printmaking Nomenclature & Abbreviations

One of the great things about prints is that they often contain a lot of information about themselves printed right on the print, usually in the space just under the image. This usually includes the title, but also often the artist, publisher, place of publication, date of publication, and printmaker. The only problem is that sometimes the terms used to identify this information is abbreviated, written in a language other than English, or both. To help readers understand this information, I will list (alphabetically) some of the abbreviations and terms one can find on antique prints.

  • A.f.
    Etched by

  • A.P.
    Artist’s proof

  • Appresso
    Published by

  • Apud
    Published by

  • Aquaforti fecit, aquaforti, Aquaf., Aq.
    Etched by

  • Aquatinta, aq:tinta
    Aquatinted by

  • A.V.
    Augusta Vindelicorum; that is, published in Augsburg, Germany

  • Bon à tirer, B.A.T.
    Proof print for use by the printer

  • Caelavit, cael.
    Engraved by

  • Chez
    At the house of

  • Composuit
    Drawn by, referring to drawing from which the engraver, lithographer, etc. worked

  • Cum privilegio
    Privilege to publish from some authority

  • Delineavit, delin., delt., del.
    Drawn by (cf. composuit)

  • Descripsit
    Drawn by (cf. composuit)

  • Designavit, desig.
    Drawn by (cf. composuit)

  • Dessiné
    Drawn by (cf. composuit)

  • Direxit, direx.
    Directed by (head of workshop)

  • Divulgavit, divulg.
    Published by

  • Dressé
    Drawn by (cf. composuit)

  • Écrit
    Written by (lettering)

  • Effigiavit, effig.
    Drawn by (cf. composuit)

  • Engd., Eng.
    Engraved by

  • Épreuve d’Artiste, E.A.
    Artist’s proof

  • Ex coll.
    From the collection of

  • Excudit, excud., exct., exc.
    Printed by or published by

  • Ex Officina
    From the workshop of

  • Ex Typis
    From the printing house of

  • Faciebat, fac.
    Made by

  • Fecit, fec., f.
    Made by

  • Figuravit, fig.
    Drawn by (usually after an original painting)

  • Formis
    At the press of

  • Gezeichnet, gez.
    Drawn by (cf. composuit)

  • Gravé
    Engraved by

  • Gravire

  • Hors Commerce, H.C.
    Not for sale

  • Impressit, imp.
    Printed by

  • Incidit, incidebat, incid., inc.
    Engraved by

  • Inventor, invenit, invt., inv., in.
    Designed by (the original work)

  • Lithog., litho., lith.
    Lithographed by (either drawn on stone a publisher)

  • On stone by
    Drawn on lithographic stone by

  • Par

  • Pinxit, pins., pictor, ping.
    Painted by (the original work)

  • Scripsit, scrip.
    Engraved text

  • Sculpsit, sculpt., sculp., sc.
    Engraved by

  • Sumptibus
    At the expense of

  • Zusammengetragen
    Compiled by

    1. What does state mean? Sometimes I have seen the description says 3rd state etc, is this the revision number?

      Thank you.

    2. Great question. I thought I had written on editions and states, but obviously not. I will post a blog on this topic next week...

    3. *Very* helpful. Many thx for posting this list.

    4. I have a print of St. Jerome Penitence by Aug:Caracius. Facibat. I see now that facibat means " made by " . How could I obtain more information on this beautiful print?

      Thanks, Larry T

      1. There is no easy way to find information on prints other than doing research into the names which appear on the print. Sometimes you can find more about the artist, but sometimes not. You just have to do some digging with what you have.

      2. Thanks for your reply. I'll do someore research on the print. Really enjoy your website with valuable information.

        Thanks, Larry T.

    5. I have a vintage or antique corot print and in the lower right corner it says either Veate Corot or Verte Corot. Does anyone know what those terms would mean?