Sinclair ZX Spectrum Issue One – circuit portrait x

I finally got time to get into the printshop this week to get printing again. My target was the coveted “Issue One” circuit board for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum. This was the original layout as put together by Richard Altwasser in 1982.

I’d finally tracked down a donor board in April last year, stripped it and started tracing it, but other work overtook me and I hadn’t been able to get into the studio to print until after Hogmanay.

It looks rather like the ZX81 (a simpler Altwasser design from the previous year), but is bigger, and has many more parts on it. I really like these free-hand style boards, and they’re very unusual for this generation of machine. (Subsequent issues of this computer used a more recognisable orthogonal, angular pattern.) I also had a devil of a time tracking down a ZX Spectrum Issue One that hadn’t been lovingly restored (and cost hundreds of pounds), or was a “rare” item. This was the most expensive donor, by far.

The necessity to destroy the containing object (the computer) has been a significant feature in this series of artworks. Physically stripping away the context around the board, the case, components, markings and labels, to reveal the signs of the human creator inside.

I’ve printed a set of these in what I consider the “signature” circuit portrait colour scheme, and then a handful of assorted other combinations. Once again, I’m using Somerset Satin paper and four layers of acrylic ink. The paper is roughly A3 with four torn or deckled edges, the printed area is roughly A4.

Check the shop ( if you’ve got a hankering for one of these fine pieces of computing history.



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