Mezzotint Engraving

Mezzotint engraving involves rocking a spiky roulette wheel or other similar gravers' tool across a metal plate (either copper or steel) in different directions until the plate is covered with tiny burrs of raised metal. If inked and printed at this point, the plate will print completely black. The engraver, by burnishing or scraping away the fragile burr, is able to produce degrees of shadow from black to white without the lines common to etching or line engraving. This process most closely resembles and best recreates the effects rendered in oil paintings.

Original plate of the engraving of the Empress Eugenie.