Le Blon, Jacob Christoph
The idea of three chromatic primaries, yellow, red, and blue, was quite well established in Le Blon’s time among painters, graphically represented by Aguilonius in 1613  and described by R. Boyle in 1664 (p. 220) . What was new in Le Blon’s work is that he applied this concept to color printing of images in an entirely new fashion making greater and much subtler detailing and coloration possible. It required experience in deconstructing an image in terms of color so that printing multiple copies, based on only three or four plates, produced good quality coloration. It required the ability to mentally resolve the image into its presumed primary chromatic components and understanding and predicting the effects of superimposed printing inks in certain areas, for which extensive trial and error work was required. Le Blon manually engraved copperplates, using the mezzotint process, with the relative components of the three primary colors printed successively in registration in the sequence blue, yellow, and red onto the paper substrate. As he gained experience, he at times used a fourth plate printing in black to achieve greater tonality and contrast, thus employing an early version of the CMYK process. Le Blon used the pigments Prussian blue, Stil de grain (yellow lake), a mixture of red lake and carmine for red, and a common printer’s black ink . The pigments were dispersed in copal tree resin dissolved in copal oil to make the inks. The technical problems associated with the process prevented it from becoming a standard method and lithographic printing of color images from up to a dozen wood engravings or stones per image continued until H. E. Ives’ invention of the chromatic halftone printing process ca. 1890.
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