Print Terminology

Print Terminology can be mind boggling!  Different languages, hundreds of years and many different technics make for a big lexicon of possible words written on your antique print.  Many abbreviations and terms are used on prints and maps which provide essential information about the artwork.  These terms are mostly found on classical engravings and etchings as well as in the cartouche (decoration) of old maps.  Some terms are quite rare so do not expect to find these on all prints.  Here is list of these terms and their definitions.  Underlined are the more common terms and abbreviations you may find on old prints.

According to Act of Parliament (date) = copyrighted in England between 1735 and 1911

Aere =  on copper

Aere exarat per (name) =  engraved on copper by

App(ress)o (name) =  published by (name)

Apud (name) =  sold by (name)

Aqua fecit (name); Aqua forti (name) = etched by

Auctore (name) = designed by

Avec Privilège Du Roy, APDR =  officially registered in France between 1686 and 1790

Bon à Tirer =  hand written by printmaker on proof, indicating quality wanted for printing.  This started in about 1850

Caelavit (name); Chalcographus (name) =  engraved by

Chez (name) = sold by

Composuit (name) designed by

Cum gratia et privilegio regis = copyrighted with the king’s permission.  This is usually found on French prints before 1790

Cum gratia et privilegio Sacrae Caesareae MajestatisCum gratia et privilegio Sac Caes Maj = copyrighted in Germany and Austria before 1806

Cum privilegiis Regis Christianissimi Serenissimae Infantis, et Ordinum Confaederatorum = copyrighted in France, Belgium and Holland by Rubens, 1620-40

Cum privilegio Summi Pontificis, Cum privilegio Summi Pontif =  copyrighted in papal states before 1870

Del, Delineavit (name) =  drawn by

Déposé à la Bibiothèque Impériale = registered with French censor between 1804 and 1814

Déposé à la Bibiothèque Nationale =  registered with French censor between 1848 and 1852 and again from 1870 to the present

Déposé à la Bibiothèque Royale = registered with French censor between 1814 and 1848

Déposé à la Direction = registered with French censor between 1795 and 1799

Descripsit (name), Disegno (name) =  drawn by

Divulgavit (name) =  published by

Eau Forte par (name) =  etched by (name) between 1700 and 1900

Effigavit (name) = drawn by

Epreuve d’Artiste =  In French, hand written on print made for the artist and is not included in a numbered edition. 19th century to present.

Epreuve d’Essai = hand written on proof to test inking

Epreuve d’état = hand written on proof before finished state

Ex Archetipis (name) = designed by

Excudit, Exc (name) = published by

Excusum Londini =  published in London between 1600 and 1800

Exculpsit (name) = reproductive engraving by

Ex officina (name) =  from the press of 

Faciebat, Fecit (name) =  made by

Figuravit (name) =  drawn by

Formis (name) published by

Gravé par (name) = (French) engraved or etched by

Impressit, Imp (name) =  printed by

Imprimé (name) =  printed by

Incidente, Incidit, Inc (name) = engraved by

Invenit, Inv (name) = designed by

Lith. (name) =  lithograph drawn by or printed by this page is copyrighted

Pinxit (name) = painted by

Scalpsit, Sculpsit, Sc (name) =  engraved by

2/100 =  hand written, numbered edition.  This started after 1850
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