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These two versions of 'The Mew Stone',
a small island to the east of the Plymouth Sound, demonstrate two stages in the printmaking process.
This first, known as an 'open etching',
is the earliest step towards the finished print. The engraver, William Bernard Cooke, has translated Turner's original watercolour into an outline composition using fine etching only. The copper plate is now ready to be overlaid with engraved lines and possibly more heavily etched areas to build up the tonal depth and finish and to add fine detail (see below).