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intaglio presses

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Swansea Print Workshop has five intaglio or etching presses in total, three of which are permanently studio based. These presses are distinguished by their capacity for extreme pressure and require the use of a soft packing between the roller and the plate or block. This takes the form of special dense woolen blankets.

etching presses

They are hand driven by turning a wheel with horizontal handle attached and have some element of gearing to ensure an even progress through the rollers.

All of them have a history attached as they have all come to us from other printmakers.

Radcliffe Etching Press: Bed Size 72”x 35”

This very substantial press came from Chelsea College of Art, which has a long history of prestigious printmakers, such as Frank Brangwyn and David Hockney. There is no date stamp or manufacturer’s name on the press but from the design of it, was probably built around the 1920’s.

Large scale Radcliffe intaglio press

The largest print to come off the press is one that was done recently for the Artes Mundi Project and contained 20 (?) separate collagraph blocks with the paper at full bed size.

The press was moved from Chelsea by Chris Holliday, who had been responsible for its maintenance and safety adaptations whilst in use at the college. It was the first press to be installed at Clarence Street and incredibly he did this with a single assistant, three scaffolding poles and a hand winch.

Inverleith Etching Press: Bed Size 30”x15”

This press was bought from the artist, David Carpanini It was built by Chris Holliday and is great to use. Very easy and sensitive adjustment and quick to set up and use.

Editioning for the Dylan Thomas print project on the Inverleith press

Little John Etching Press: Bed size 36”x21”

Collagraph workshop using the Littlejohn press

This is the most modern press and was bought for the art department of a local school. When Alan Figg retired he alerted us to the fact that it wasn’t being used anymore. We gave the school what we could afford and we now have a a handy medium size press and which is often used for editioning.

Tofko Etching Press

Additionally, we have two Tofko presses which are used for outreach work. They are largely used for collagraph and relief blocks, but will print intaglio as well. We also use these presses for wheelchair users as they can be mounted on a low table if necessary.

These presses have very largely stood the test of time with thousands of prints being produced. One press that has been in use for 9 years has had minor parts replacement on the bearings.

Portable Tofko presses being used in schools and community venues

See our outreach section for details of what sort of workshops we offer for a venue of your choice.