Linen Backing and Poster Conservation

December 3, 2015 § Leave a comment

We are pleased to offer linen backing services for our clients here in our Berkeley Showroom. We handle hundreds of posters every year and can give estimates as to how much restoration is advised and what it costs. The turnaround is typically 6-8 weeks. We encourage you to bring your posters into the shop for examination and estimates.

What is linen backing?

It is a conservation method that has been used with posters for over a century.

Linen backing can flatten folds and creases in posters.

Today’s techniques utilizes 100 percent archival materials to stabilize and preserve vintage posters

Fragile posters are mounted onto a canvas backing with an acid free paper barrier between the poster and the cotton canvas.

The paste used in backing is an acid free vegetable cellulose paste which is water reversible.

Linen backing makes it possible to be handled without risking tears or further wear to the fragile paper

Once backed, posters can be restored. Some common restorations include piece in and color. Piece in uses old paper scrap to fill in paper losses. The addition is sanded to make it the same thickness as the poster, at which time it can be colored to blend in.

Restoration of color is done using acid free water color, watercolor pens, and colored pencils. Posters can lose pigment for a variety of reasons – folds, wear, sunlight and oxidation are some of them.

Optional additional services include washing, bleaching, and micro- trimming rough margins.

When is backing and restoration appropriate? 

When a poster has value, either monetary, historical, or sentimental

When a poster has been compromised in some way- torn, folded, water damaged

With advertising posters. Linen backing is the industry standard. However with rock posters and movie posters, linen backing is possible but some collectors frown on it.

4th lib before & after logo

This post was written by Elizabeth Norris,
Owner of Vintage European Posters
Founded 1997
Visit our collection of original advertising posters on the web
or in our showroom at 2201 Fourth Street in Berkeley, California

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