Calligraphy & Illumination
Parchment and Vellum are remarkable ancient materials proven to stand the test of time unlike any other writing media. They possess unique properties which will contribute to a stunning quality of work
Whether quill, pen or brush is used lettering and illumination on real Parchment or Vellum has a depth, clarity and luminescence that set vellum well apart from paper. Intense vibrant colours and incredibly fine detail is achievable. These remarkable qualities can never be matched by so called ‘parchment’ imitations or ‘parchment paper’. William Cowley is the only manufacturer of genuine Parchment & Vellum in the UK.
For the last twenty five years or so I have completed many calligraphy and illuminating commissions on Cowley’s vellum. I find that the excellent quality of their skins does not change. The staff always take great care to ensure that the skins selected are suited to the purpose. ~ Patricia Lovett, Calligrapher, Illuminator, Teacher and Author
Our calligraphy and illumination products are primarily Calfskin Manuscript Vellum, Calfskin Classic Vellum and Sheepskin parchment. Manuscript vellum is the finest writing material of all. Historically, it has been used for any document that needs to convey honour, distinction, importance, authority and is required to last indefinitely.
A Great Revival of Traditions
The world of Calligraphy and Illumination is seeing a great revival in traditional methods and materials and William Cowley is proud to be playing its part. We were honoured to supply all the vellum for perhaps the largest and most exciting Calligraphic and Illumination project of modern times, the Saint John’s Bible, completed in 2011.
Another fine example of British craftsmanship is the magnificent re-creation of a Mappa Mundi, which hangs in the refurbished Great Tower of Dover Castle. Artists ‘Black Letter’ researched and used traditional pigments for this stunning work. Commissioned by English Heritage, the Mappa Mundi used the largest calfskin William Cowley has ever supplied!
In 2011 William Cowley was privileged to supply a piece of fine manuscript vellum to the Royal Household. On this the Royal Calligrapher wrote and illuminated an ‘Instrument of Consent’ which was signed by the Queen and then sealed with the Great Seal of the Realm. This document gave Her Majesty’s formal consent to the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton.Calligraphy Products and Advice for Beginners