Monday, 15 February 2016

Saving the Art of Vellum

A blog post on why I am happy that the art of vellum is being saved.

Watercolour painting of yellow laburnum flowers on natural calf vellum by Shevaun Doherty
Laburnum anagyroides on vellum (crop)
I awoke today to hear the very good news that the British Government were not going ahead with their plans to stop using vellum for their archive copies of UK Acts of Parliament. 

The arguments for changing from vellum to archival paper were purely financial, because it is inconceivable that anyone would want to lose a centuries old tradition that includes the Domesday Book (1086) and the Magna Carta (1215). By switching to paper, the UK government claimed that they would save £80,000 per annum, although in fact, they only pay £46,000 p.a. to William Cowley’s, the sole producer of vellum in the UK and Ireland. It goes without saying, that the Irish Government would also quickly move to adopt such a decision if it was to go ahead.

So why do I care?