From Donald Jackson, Calligrapher and Artistic Director for the Saint John’s Bible
I have used calfskin manuscript vellum from William Cowley since they took over from Band & Co in (?) and have never been disappointed in their willingness to adapt and develop their techniques to meet any of my special requirements. They have always given excellent, professional and friendly service and we have enjoyed working with them on the Saint John’s Bible for almost 12 years. They came to know exactly what I was looking for and would choose and put aside anything they thought would be suitable in size and quality for our Bible. People are intrigued when they see the size, weight and consistent quality of the pages. The only problem is they immediately want to touch the surface of the vellum! Most of the team of calligraphers, who have worked on The Saint John’s Bible, now use it as a medium of their choice in preference to even the best hand-made paper.
We have used William Cowley’s Calfskin Manuscript Vellum for the entire Saint John’s Bible – over 300 folios! These were very large pages which needed to be flawless. They are also difficult to find in the size and quality we needed for these largely ceremonial volumes, but William Cowleys produced vellum which has been beautiful to work with, to write, paint and illuminate on. I used Victorian era goose quill pens with 100 year old Chinese ink as well as modern acrylic medium. Creating our finest calligraphy on this beautifully prepared vellum has been and still is a wonderful experience.
I have also used Cowleys manuscript vellums for creating a great many of the Royal Documents such as City Charters and Peerage Patents of Nobility which I have been executing over the last 50 years. ~ Donald Jackson: Donald is one of the world’s foremost calligraphers and is Senior Illuminator and Scribe to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s Crown Office