JAMES WATSON (c. 1740–1790).
Edmund Burke (after J. Reynolds). 1770.
MEZZOTINT (Italian: mezzotinto) is an intaglio process in which the surface of a copper or zinc plate is roughened with a rocker, a tool with a curved serrated edge. While making the drawing onto the plate, the roughened surface is polished slightly lower in some places: the smoother the surface, the lighter the tone that remains onto the print. The higher and rougher surfaces yield darker tones in printing. The mezzotint technique is particularly suitable for depicting images with dark surfaces and picturesque transitions rich in shades. Unlike other techniques, in which the surface is designed by black lines on white background, mezzotint creates the image by white areas on black background.