Parchment or vellum is obtained from animal skins (sheep or goat skin; calf skin for vellum), which were placed into a lime bath. Hair and flesh residues were scraped off, before the material was cleaned, repeatedly scraped whilst stretched under tension to dry. Finally the material was smoothed and polished.
Parchment has always been and still remains to be a very expensive product. Sheets were therefore quite frequently reused several times.
Even nowadays, the certificates of the winners of the Nobel Prize are being issued on handmade parchment.
An extraordinary charm is emitted by the beautiful portraits of the 18thcentury, executed with pastels on parchment. As pastels are a quite fragile medium, being only loosely attached to the support, it is of utmost importance to ensure only non-static materials are being used for framing.
Despite being a relatively durable material, parchment reacts quite sensitively to changes of the relative humidity. An excess of moisture can result in a gelatinisation of the material. Appropriate storage conditions are therefore paramount. We are happy to provide you with our advice.