A place for Drachenwald's scribes to hang out, learn, discuss and critique each others work.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

buying Vellum

There was recently a query over prices and where to get vellum. Yesterday I purchased a hide of goatskin parchment from Falkiners Fine Papers (76 Southhampton Row), a short walk from Holborn tube station, in London. They also had sheep and reindeer parchment, as well as calf (vellum), but the vellum looked too 'bleached' and thick to me, and the goatskin was the nicest piece.

The hide was about 7 sq feet in size, and cost £80. This was on the cheap end of their range. I managed to cut the following 'standard' photo-frame size pieces out of it: 16X20, 11X14, A3 (30X42cm), A4 (21X30cm), A5 (half A4), plus two each of 5X7 and 4X6. I am also left with a handful of little samples to give away at my upcoming classes :-)

Here are some photos...

You'll notice the smaller pieces came from the middle, this is because the "spine" is usually rougher and doesn't look so great running right across a page.

As you can see, even though it's all from skin, there's a good variety of some lovely textures (bottom photo).

On to other suppliers....
The price list I have from William Cowley (2007) states that a single piece of 16X20 costs £60 to £70 for calf vellum, or £34 for goat or sheep. Mind you, the samples that came with the price list are of a very high quality. (the sheep one is a pale-creamy colour and very fine)

The sample book I have from www.pergamena.net also has really fantastic samples - except for the sheepskin sample which looks a dark dirty brown. The deerskin is the nicest one I think.
Their parchments are available in three thicknesses: thin, medium, thick (0.014 inches, 0.016-0.022, and 0.024 inches thick)

Their 2007 prices are per square foot, and in US dollars :
Calfskin: $22.30 to $25 (5 options to choose from)
Deerskin: $16.90 to $19.40
Goatskin: $16.50 to $19
Sheepskin: $19.30 to $21.80
They also offer dyed skins for an extra $3 per sq ft.

A note about vellum versus parchment - here is an excerpt from p18, 'Masterpieces of Illumination' published by Taschen.

"In south of Europe, in Spain, Italy, and the south of France, parchment was chiefly prepared from the hides of sheep and goats, while calfskin was preferred in more northerly regions."

- Nerissa


Melisende Fitzwalter said...

Thank you.

This is very useful information.

Merlyn Gabriel said...

Ooooh lovely!!!!