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William Cowley Furniture Covering – See “Vellum Clad Furniture” article from Financial Times

Posted by on May 2, 2014 in news | Comments Off on William Cowley Furniture Covering – See “Vellum Clad Furniture” article from Financial Times

Vellum as is undergoing an extraordinary renaissance as a covering for furniture. Use the link below to read the full Financial Times article or read a summary of some of the professional quotes here on this page.

Link to full FT article “Vellum Clad Furniture”

In this fascinating and inspirational article in the Financial Times, Nicole Swengley talks to some of the country’s leading Interior Designers and Furniture Makers enthused by this ancient material and yet extraordinarily contemporary material with such truly remarkable qualities. In the article Nicole looks at some of their amazing bespoke work for discerning clients that truly appreciate the uniqueness of a piece of vellum clad furniture.

She also talks to Paul Wright, manager of William Cowley, the UK’s only manufacturer of quality furniture vellum. William Cowley is able to supply furniture vellum in white, creamy, and natural forms as well as in a whole range of stunning dyed effects and colours.

Here are a series of quotes from the professionals featured in the piece. Read through them, I think they will give you a real flavour of what this exciting material can offer.


“Vellum feels like no other material, it has a diaphanous quality that plays with light, which brings the whole surface to life. It’s a beautiful material with great relevance to contemporary furniture.”


“Vellum’s exceptional properties give it an aura of glamour, softness and enduring luxury”


“Vellum has a wholly contemporary feel. I love its organic eggshell finish. It has character and sophistication. It works wonderfully with reflective surfaces.”


 “Its allure is twofold, no two pieces are ever identical, and the skill levels involved give it a remarkable cachet“


“Homeowners are always looking for the sensuous and tactile – and vellum is both”


“Vellum looks as contemporary today as it did in the art‑deco period.”  


“Vellum mixes perfectly with other materials, combining easily with different textures and tints in furniture. It also reflects light in a very specific way, which is why it was traditionally used for lampshades.”


“our designs push vellum’s boundaries and highlight it’s wonderful patina.”


“We use it in its natural, undyed state on our custom-made screen in colours from ivory to pale tan. The bespoke nature of each skin adds to its exclusivity.”


“Few natural materials are as durable as vellum, yet come in the very whitest white.”


“Vellum is extremely versatile, working equally well over large areas or small details. The skins look best when contrasted with another material, such as aged brass, gilded steel or fumed oak. Jean-Michel Frank and other French designers working in the 1920s and 1930s combined vellum with shagreen, oak or bronze, which transformed the finish into a very new and exciting medium. It still feels this way today.”


 “Many people are unaware that it can be used in furniture; they are fascinated when they see a piece, and love its richness and texture.”


“A wonderfully unpredictable medium”, the skins vary so much that not only is every piece unique, but variations in colour and tone provide an extensive palette. I recently clad every kitchen-cupboard door and drawer in my home with variegated brown skins.”


“Our client initially wanted leather, but we suggested vellum, as it has more character, texture and depth. We used lacquered vellum for the door panels and the cocktail bar’s back panels, where its high-gloss finish contrasted wonderfully with the backlit onyx on the bar”


 “In the hands of the right designer and maker, vellum works brilliantly with any number of materials. Combine it with bleached sycamore and the piece is a study of subtle tonal variations. Use it with metal and the contrast becomes the story. The most important thing is getting the proportions right.”


 “What particularly attracts me is that vellum is one of very few materials that remains white over time and resists yellowing from ultraviolet light.”


“Given the material’s longevity, these thrilling contemporary developments should still be enjoyed by generations to come.”


Parchment and Vellum are remarkable materials with truly unique qualities; used worldwide to create exceptional products, works of art and special documents. Our Parchment & Vellum is used for: Calligraphy and Illumination, Bookbinding, Botanical Art, Heraldic Art, Memorial Books, Drum Making and Lampshades. We offer a bespoke vellum covering service for furniture, wall and door panels; and a document printing service for Certificates, Diplomas, Family Trees etc