Parchment

Parchment

Writing has always been a form of art, but it’s hard to imagine that the production of writing materials used to be a form of art too. Today we simply grab a pen and a piece of paper but in ancient times it took months, just to fabric something to write on: parchment.

Parchment is a thin material made from hide, usually from calf-, sheep- or goatskin and often split. The distinction between leather and parchment is that parchment is limed and not tanned; therefore, it is very reactive to changes in relative humidity and is not waterproof. Finer-quality parchment is called vellum. Parchment was developed in Pergamon, from which it is believed the word ‘parchment’ evolved, as a substitute for papyrus.

To make the parchment more aesthetically pleasing or more suitable for the scribes, special treatments are used. Thin pastes of lime, flour, egg whites and milk are rubbed into the skins to make it smooth and white but there are recipes to tint parchment a variety of colours including purple, indigo, green, red and peach.

Rubbing pumice powder into the flesh side of parchment while it’s still wet on the frame is used to make it smooth and to modify the surface to enable inks to penetrate more deeply. Powders and pastes of calcium compounds were also used to help remove grease so the ink would not run. To make the parchment smooth and white, thin pastes of lime, flour, egg whites and milk were rubbed into the skins. Parchment is not always white. A 15th century craftsman provided recipes to tint parchment a variety of colours including purple, indigo, green, red and peach.

 

S3250

Swatch, parchment light fog

 

S3251

Swatch, parchment new dark green

 

S3245

Swatch, parchment turquoise

 

S3209

Swatch, parchment navy blue

 

S3153

Swatch, parchment light olive green

 

S3157

Swatch, parchment old gold

 

S3150

Swatch, parchment light ebony black

 

S3151

Swatch, parchment light coffee brown

 

S3152

Swatch, parchment light caramel

 

S3147

Swatch, parchment S3002 water grey – python S3116 real skin – cabibe S3054 cracking

 

S3144

Swatch, parchment S3002 water grey – MOP S3053 black cracking pattern

 

S3109

Swatch, parchment ebony black

 

S3110

Swatch, parchment caviar

 

S3111

Swatch, parchment sky blue

 

S3107

Swatch, parchment blue black (001)

 

S3108

Swatch, parchment deep blue fog

 

S3103

Swatch, parchment arabian night

 

S3085

Swatch, parchment tangerine

 

S3079

Swatch, parchment emerald

 

S3080

Swatch, parchment golden glow

 

S3081

Swatch, parchment jungle green

 

S3077

Swatch, parchment coffee

 

S3078

Swatch, parchment elephant grey

 

S3032

Swatch, parchment DK013 light blue grey

 

S3031

Swatch, parchment DK012 dark grey

 

S3023

Swatch, parchment DK001 black

 

S3030

Swatch, parchment DK010 tabac

 

S3002

Swatch, parchment watergrey

 

S3003

Swatch, parchment bleached DK008 white

 

S3005

Swatch, parchment DK17 dark kaki brown