In the world of quality paper, the terms vellum and ARCHES® are inextricably linked. Indeed, this noble paper, which has won over so many artists, publishers and printers the world over, was made very early on at the Arches Mill. But do you know how vellum, “Velin” in French, got its name?
It goes back to the days when leathers were frequently used for writing on and as precious covers for books. Vellum was a parchment made from the skin of stillborn calves, which, after being bleached with lime and formed into sheets for binding, was used to produce the noblest of books.
It was because it resembled this vellum, that the word came to be used for the paper made after 1750. With a smooth surface soft to the touch, it had something of the qualities of the fine, delicate animal skins.
Before that, it should be remembered that all papers were what is known as “laid” papers, because of the laid wires of the screen used to drain the fibres from the water in the pulp during the papermaking process, which leave their mark in the paper.