Stipple Engraving

To begin with an etching ground is laid on the plate. The outline is drawn out in small dots with an etching needle, and the darker areas of the image shaded with a pattern of close dots. Then the plate is bitten with acid, and the etching ground removed. The lighter areas of shade are then laid in with a drypoint or a stipple graver; Fielding describes the latter as "resembling the common kind, except that the blade bends down instead of up, thereby allowing the engraver greater facility in forming the small holes or dots in the copper". The etched middle and dark tones would also be deepened where appropriate with the graver.
In France the technique fed a fashion for reproductions of red chalk drawings. In England the technique was used for "furniture prints" with a similar purpose, and became very popular, though regarded with disdain by producers of the portrait mezzotints that dominated the English print market. Stipple competed with mezzotint as a tonal method of printmaking, and while it lacked the rich depth of tone of mezzotint, it had the great advantage that far more impressions could be taken from a plate.
During the late eighteenth century, some printmakers began to use colour in stipple engraving. Rather than using separate plates for each colour, as in most colour printing processes of the time the different colours were carefully applied with a brush to a single plate for each impression,a highly skilled operation which soon proved economically unviable.This method is also known as à la poupée after the French term for the small cotton pads used for the inking.          Fielding,T.H. Art of Engraving 1841