A surface for drawing or writing made from the skins of calves, goats and sheep

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  • British (?) School, 'An Ornament with Serpents' date not known
    British (?) School
    An Ornament with Serpents date not known
    Pen and ink, pencil, bronze paint and silver paint on parchment
    support: 154 x 86 mm
    frame: 507 x 435 x 22 mm
    Purchased as part of the Oppé Collection with assistance from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund 1996
  • Jonathan Richardson, 'Portrait of Matthew Prior (1664-1721)' date not known
    Jonathan Richardson
    Portrait of Matthew Prior (1664-1721) date not known
    Pencil on parchment
    support: 76 x 62 mm
    Purchased as part of the Oppé Collection with assistance from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund 1996
  • Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones, Bt, 'Ezekiel and the Boiling Pot' date not known
    Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones, Bt
    Ezekiel and the Boiling Pot date not known
    Pen and ink and wash on vellum mounted on canvas
    support: 260 x 152 mm
    Purchased 1923

While there is no sharp distinction between vellum and parchment, vellum is generally a finer quality than parchment, since it is made from younger hides and so is smoother and has fewer or finer hair follicles. Parchment, made from the skins of older animals, tends to be coarser.

Modern paper vellum (vegetable vellum) is a quite different synthetic material, used for a variety of purposes including plans and technical drawings.