Definition of a lithograph: A lithograph is an artwork or illustration printed from a stone block onto paper.

One of the most notable artists to use lithography was Carl Brodtmann of Switzerland, renowned for his magnificent hand colored lithographs of animals..

Here is a lithograph by Brodtman of an Arabian Horse and Foal - do you notice the soft, natural appearance compared to an engraving?

Arabian Horse and Foal

Lithography became popular after about 1820. Its great attraction was that drawing on stone was almost as natural as drawing on paper (compared to the older method of engraving a metal printing plate with sharp tool). Click on the pictures of lithographs at the bottom of this page to have a closer look at some. Here's how it worked:

1) The artist would draw on a polished stone (usually limestone from a particular quarry in Bavaria) using a special, waxy lithographic crayon, pen or pencil.

2) The artist would roll black ink over the stone.

3) The ink would only stick to the wax, not the stone.

4) The stone would be pressed onto paper to print the image.

5) The artist would then color the print, either by by painting on water colors, or by using other printing stones to apply colored inks to selected parts of the picture (these prints are known as chromolithographs - the Victorians printmakers were superb at this).