The art of printing in various colours from electrotype plates, &c. It has commercially developed itself during the last fifteen years, until it has become a distinct adjunct to what is familiary known as letter-press printing.
The higher branches of chromo-typography used to be practised by only one or two houses; but now the demand for coloured posters and show-cards is so great that numerous printers have been induced to add this branch to their trade with great success and pecuniary gain.
The best class of chromo work is accomplished by the studied blending of delicate tints to produce a whole, which an artist alone can give; he it is who must conceive and furnish the engraver with sketches of the tints for each block, leaving it to the pressman to furnish the colours of the transparency, opacity, or tone required. The most perfect register must be obtained; for if only one requisite be unfulfilled, ten or twelve printings are rendered valueless.
The Christmas supplements to the Illustrated London News come under this category, but are deficient, not in artistic merit, but in the slopping manner in which the colours are manipulated; indeed, the design is often marred by the presswork.