|Comparing Our Prints with theirs...|
Left our print from our original painting on silk.
Above what another art dealer was selling...
Below what the closeups look like, between ours and theirs...
Frequently Asked Questions - About Our Limited Edition Art Reproductions
"What’s so special about your prints?"
We offer only high quality Limited Edition Art Prints (LEAP), no cheap “open edition” poster prints which are printed by the thousands by other print sellers.
We offer unique colour reproductions of historical prints that you cannot get anywhere else in the world.
All our prints are first generation, struck directly from original antique paintings or prints, all over 100 years old, stored in our vaults.
All our prints deal with the subject that we find the most interesting, the mix of historic people, places, and events. These works of art were the “television” of a century ago, which is why they were carefully made by artists and highly prized by consumers and proudly hung in homes, hotels, and places of business.
"I have ordered prints from others and was disappointed because they were fuzzy looking?"
Your experience is common because many printing shops do not have the original antique prints to make their copies from. They use third, fourth, and fifth generation printing masters made from dupes of previous images. With every generation of copying, the picture degenerates, the lines get fuzzy, and the colour shifts badly.
America, British and Canadian Museums are among the worst offenders because they use old and worn copy dupe masters.
They may own the original works of art but keep them in their vaults, and never go near them, using instead, multi-generational photo dupes of dupes to make their prints from. These are often ten to twenty years old, losing colour and definition with the passing decades. These end up being several degraded generations removed in quality from the original.
Heritageartandantiques.com is unique in the world in that, unlike every other print shop, we own all the original paintings and prints that our colour reproductions are made from.
So, unlike every other print shop, our prints are made by digitally photographing the actual original antique painting or print in our vaults. We then print from the digital master photo of the original work.
So all our prints are first generation; they look as sharp and colourful as the original.
In fact our prints are better, because our Photoshop specialist removes the stains, dirt, rips, and holes, often found on the antique paintings and prints, to give you a “like-new” print to hang up: no dirt, no stains, no rips, no holes.
"I see some marks on your pictures? Will there be dirt, stains, or rips on the print you send me?"
No; none at all.
In many cases we show the photo of the original antique print before our Photoshop specialist has removed the imperfections and done a colour correction.
We do this to show you that we actually have an original antique master to make copies from, unlike other print shops which have only degraded duplicate photo copies they have Xeroxed somewhere, often from a poor museum reproduction. In fact they cannot show you a picture of the original antique print since they don’t own one. Their prints are struck from third or fourth generation copies.
Original antique paintings and prints are the best to make copies from.
Almost no printing shops have direct access to the original works of art of prints they sell. They use degraded multi-generational duping copies they buy from museum shops. The same place you buy them. Then they re-photograph them and make copies from them. No wonder they look fuzzy and badly coloured.
Unfortunately some originals have been ripped or stained through time.
"Your pictures sometimes show borders that are wavy and not square. Will my colour print show that?"
No. All the borders of prints we make are completely square.
"Your pictures sometimes show dirty or soiled and blemished looking margins. Will my colour print show that?"
No; not at all.
It is normal that the margins on many antique prints have darkened and soiled through time.
Which is why our Photoshop artist digitally removes all margins and replaces them with a pure clean bordering margin, just like the one the original painting or print once had.
Some of your pictures show no margin at all. Will I get a margin?
In fact every print we produce will have a standard, clean margin on all four sides, so that you can matte and frame your picture whichever way you like.
Below our print from our photo master
A Tale of Two Pictures
Above our original photo of Chief Bull Head, taken in 1886, printed directly from the glass negative.
Right a much degraded copy sold by the Glenbow Museum, showing how museum dupes become terribly deteriorated by generations of abuse from careless duplication, bad handling, and poor storage.
"I have bought prints from national museums and art galleries and was disappointed in the quality? Will that be the case with prints I get from you?"
Below the print from the Glenbow Museum
No; not at all.
It’s very common that museum and art gallery prints and photos are disappointing.
The reason is simple.
You may not be aware that often museums and art galleries do not own the original antique prints or photos that they sell in their stores.
They own only copies. In fact copies, of copies, of copies. And each one degrades the image until they sell you your copy, many generations degraded from the original. The sharpness is gone; the tonal range is gone; the colour is gone. In short, the thrill of the original is gone.
For example, today you can get an 1886 Alexander J Ross photo of Chief Bull Head, from many museums, art galleries, and print shops across Canada and the US.
Not one of them owns the original glass photo, which is very likely in private hands.
They’re all using multi-generational degraded dupes to print from.
Alexander Ross took an original photo of Chief Bull Head, above, on a glass plate in 1886.
Some years later Harry Pollard made the first paper print so he could print the photo for sale. These paper prints, taken directly from the glass negative are the best of the best, and considered the original photo of the chief, indistinguishable from the image on the glass negative.
Our photo master is one of those.
To get a printing master on paper the print had to be re-photographed, or printed, so losing quality.
A negative had to be made, so losing more quality. Then a duping master was made. More image detail loss.
Someone else wanted a copy, so the photo or the negative, or both, were copied again, losing quality.
The National Gallery wanted one; the National Archives wanted one; the Royal Ontario Museum wanted one; the Smithsonian wanted one; the Glenbow wanted one; the Library of Congress wanted one. And many more. They all ended up with copies of copies.
Film cameras were used. Every time you use film it degrades the image because filming, and refilming, always sheds vital picture information. Film is a lossy medium.
When the National Gallery got its dupe they wanted to protect it by storing it in their vault. So they quickly made another dupe, or two or three, some for protection, others to print from.
More quality loss.
Then they gave a dupe to their printing house which, in turn, also made a protection master and a dupe master from which they could print. Lossy film cameras, used by indifferent, low paid employees, all the way down the line.
Over and over, for the past hundred years, it’s dupe after dupe after dupe, shedding pictorial information with each generation. And degrading the original image.
By the time you get your picture of Chief Bull Head from the Glenbow Museum you get a truly awful picture for your money that looks nothing like the original photo that Ross took and the original that Pollard printed over a century ago.
You can see the difference when you compare our original photo of Bull Head, with the degraded copy sold by Alberta’s Glenbow Museum in Calgary.
Above left is what the original print Harry Pollard struck from the glass negative, and now in our vaults, looks like; right is what you get when you send in your money to the Glenbow Museum for a copy from them...
Compare the texture, the sharpness, the tone, on the pants, the beadwork on the pouch on his knee, the hands, the face... Everywhere the detail is gone, the highlights are washed out and the overall print is soft and unsharp. And everywhere the dirt of successive generations of dupe masters has been faithfully copied and preserved.
This stark difference often can be seen with other museum and art gallery prints as well.
None of our prints get degraded in this way.
Like Ross, who trained his camera on Chief Bull Head himself, so our expert cameraman photographs the actual original antique photo or work of art in our vaults.
But better than Ross, we use a digital camera so our prints lose no pictorial information.
Unlike 99% of museum and art gallery dupe masters, which were all shot with film cameras, years ago, and suffer the degradation that multi-generations of film duping inflicts on pictures.
So National museums routinely use untold numbers of badly faded and degraded printing masters all made with lossy film camera and printing technology.
And no civil servant is inclined to go back into the vaults to haul out their originals and re-photograph them with modern digital cameras. To them their old film dupe masters will do just fine, thank you.
Which explains why, even when a museum owns an actual original, your print will never be made from it, but from a multi-generational degraded dupe master produced with old-fashioned and lossy film technology.
Which is why prints and photos you buy from museums and art galleries often look so awful and are not worth framing and hanging up.
Below left our original photo of Chief Crowfoot from our vaults from which our prints are made.
Below right the print provided by the Public Archives of Canada to the University of Saskatchewan Libraries Special Collections, showing all the ills that can occur through many generations of careless duping, indifferent handling, and poor storage.
Below our print from our original photo master
Below the print that Public Archives Canada provided to
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