Please join our email list to be notified of the book being published and other illumination related topics. 





Unlocking the Secrets of
Painters and Illuminators

By Sybil Archibald & Karen Gorst



Pumice Stone as seen in Lapis & GoldThe supports chapter contains the most detailed technical information ever put together on how to use parchment. Couple this with historical information, medieval Islamic paper coating practices, and an extensive troubleshooting section and it becomes clear this book is a “must have” for anyone interested in parchment or paper.

Pumice Stone

as seen in Lapis & Gold



Parchment Working Properties: General Characteristics

Parchment is a wonderfully sexy support which is a joy to work with.  The skin rises to caress the pen and kiss the brush.  The paint rests pleasingly on the surface.  This surprising quality is a result of the skin melting slightly with the application of water creating a film of gelatin.  This gelatin is not passive.  It actually mixes with the paint, becoming an active participant in the painting.  Parchment is alive.  It is your creative partner.  But, it has its pros and cons.  On the positive side, parchment gives all the things we just discussed.  On the negative side, as with any happy relationship, its boundaries must be respected.  Because it is so sensitive to water, wet techniques will cause it to swell and cockle (wrinkle or pucker).  This means large areas of color need to be carefully laid down with small dry brushstrokes instead of sweeping wet washes. If you are a daredevil, try applying an extra dark wash to a large area and blotting immediately to dry the surface.



The history of parchment, paper & papyrus


Preparing parchment

Mounting parchment

The characteristics of the two sides of parchment

What is parchment

Historical usage of parchment

Differences in parchment made from different types of animals

Considerations when purchasing parchment

Medieval Islamic paper sizing (ahar)

The spiritual meaning of supports in artwork



About the Authors


View Other Chapters From Lapis & Gold:




Pigments and Pigment Making

The Pigment Almanac (A reference guide to pigments)



Return Home

Contact us for more information

(c) 2006-9 Sybil Archibald & Karen Gorst
All material on this website is copyrighted and may not be used without permission.