Study day Photogravure: An Early Photographic Printing Process with a Modern Twist

Entry year
Course code
Professional/Short Course
Art and Design
Five days
Course Director
Dr Peter Moseley

Page last updated 4 October 2021


Photographic printing processes from the mid and late nineteenth century offer a wide variety of printed surface, colour and texture that differ markedly from the clean, sometimes almost sterile appearance of modern digital images. The early photographic processes (aka alternative photography) require a real hands-on approach in the choice of paper, chemistry and coating, and provide every opportunity for the printmaker to produce individual and beautifully aesthetic work.

The photogravure process was developed in the 1870s and became famous for the beauty and quality of its gravure prints. This is real, put on a proper apron and roll up your sleeves, printing. In outline, the process involves etching a photographic image into a plate which is then inked and put through the high-pressure rollers of an intaglio etching press sandwiched with handmade or art paper. Prints can be produced using special inks of any colour.

Originally, the process involved etching the image into a copper plate, but there is a modern equivalent that is somewhat more manageable. A photosensitive polymer plate is exposed to ultra-violet light under a translucent acetate copy of the original image or photograph and then washed out in water. Where the plate has been protected from the light by dark parts of the acetate it remains soluble in water and these areas will be removed; where the plate is exposed to light it becomes hardened and these parts will not wash away. After it has been dried, the plate is covered in ink and then the surface ink removed by careful wiping. Ink remains in the lines, grooves and hollows, where the unhardened polymer has been washed away, and it is the ink in these depressions that forms the image when the plate is put through the press in contact with dampened art Paper. It's quite a performance but well worth the trouble, prints made by this method can be stunning.



This five-day course will introduce you to all the key aspects of the process including:

  • Calibrating polymer plate exposure
  • Producing the digital transparency
    Exposing, washing out and hardening the polymer plate
  • Preparing the paper, inking the polymer plate and pulling the print
  • Drying and protecting the print

You will be able to make gravure prints from at least three of your own photographic images, using film negatives, photographic prints or digital files.

This course is suitable for beginners and no prior experience of intaglio printing or Photoshop (a computer programme for editing digital images) is required. All materials will be provided.


Study facilities

Find out more about UWE Bristol's facilities and resources.

Prices and dates

Supplementary fee information

  • Full price registration: £749
  • Concessionary price registration: £599

The course price includes all materials and catering.

Please note we offer a 20% discounted concessionary rate to UWE Bristol alumni (including previous CFPR CPD attendees), anyone reliant on state benefits for their income, anyone currently in full-time education (worldwide) or part-time higher education (UK), and those who are retired. 


6 to 10 September 2021 (09:30-16:30 each day)

The course is limited to a maximum of six participants, please sign up early to secure your place.

Please note the University terms and conditions of purchase for CPD.

How to apply

How to apply

To apply, please click on the relevant link:

The course is limited to a maximum number of six participants, please sign up early to secure your place.

Extra information

About the tutor

Dr Peter Moseley is an experienced photographer and printmaker, principally using the techniques and processes of the nineteenth century, including photogravure, platinum, salt and albumen, carbon transfer, kallitype and cyanotype printing. Peter has an MA in Printmaking from the University of Brighton and currently is Visiting Research Fellow at the Centre for Fine Print Research at UWE Bristol where he gained his PhD.

He has had work shown at national and regional galleries, including the National Portrait Gallery and the Royal Society of Painters-Printmakers. He is an experienced and qualified teacher and has taught photography/printmaking workshops at universities, colleges and print centres in the UK, Russia and China. He has been teaching summer programmes at UWE Bristol for a number of years now.

Peter's current focus involves making portraits, primarily of older people and older bodies. His works aim to depict the strength and fragility, and the humanity and life experience of his subjects through the portrayal of their skin and fragments of their bodies. He uses the materiality and haptic of prints made using early photographic printing processes to articulate the surface, depth and texturality of his subjects.

For further information