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Environs of Colombo in the Island of Ceylon (Sri Lanka). Engraving c1882.

Environs of Colombo in the Island of Ceylon (Sri Lanka). Engraving c1882.

by The Illustrated London News

Antique print of a fine scene of Colombo with modes of transport and elegant buildings by the sea.

Original wood engraving for The Illustrated London News published in London circa 1882.

Set up in 1842, The Illustrated London News increased circulation of their periodical by illustrating their latest news stories with woodblock printing. This was a labour-intensive process that required a boxwood block to be cut to the exact thickness of the type, and polished smooth. An artist used a pencil to draw his picture on this block in reverse from a mirror image. Then an engraver with chisel and other engraving tools cut away all the wood that was not covered by pencil lines.

A modification of this technique enabled weekly news periodicals to meet publication deadlines. Each drawing was divided into many pieces which were assigned to separate engravers for each portion of block. When completed, the blocks were reassembled and bolted together. Double-page prints required up to 40 blocks. Thin white lines between blocks can be seen in some illustrations. Over the years the technique for the engravings became more sophisticated and production also became quicker.

This engraving is the upper half of a page, and measures 150 x 270mm (approximately 6 x 10 5/8 inches).

Stock Number: ap ILNCeylon1Price: $20.00