What is strip lining?
In strip lining, also called edge lining, only the tacking edges of the canvas support are lined on the reverse with a secondary canvas. This method was developed as a means of preserving the structural integrity of the original canvas support, while avoiding the more severe intervention of a full lining. Strip lining is usually used in conjunction with a “loose lining” where a secondary canvas is stretched over the stretcher, behind the original canvas, to provide additional support and protection. The process is completely reversible and can significantly extend the life of an original canvas without changing its original character and surface qualities.
Why is strip lining necessary?
As a painting ages the canvas becomes more brittle and fragile. The metal tacks attaching the canvas may also corrode and degrade the canvas at the point of attachment to the extent that this eventually fails. The canvas at the turning edge of the stretcher is also particularly vulnerable to wear and damage as this is the most exposed region of contact to the frame and for handling. The painting may eventually have a canvas support that is in good and intact condition overall, but is no longer attached securely to the stretcher at the turning edge. Tears and edges may also have developed in the tacking edge, leaving less intact fabric to reinforce attachment with.
Case study: 19th century painting with failing attachment
Here, a nineteenth century canvas painting was strip lined with polyester sail cloth before being re-stretched, together with a polyester sailcloth loose lining. The tacking edge of the canvas was damaged and rusting tacks had rotted the canvas away in several points of attachment. The fine weave canvas was also somewhat fragile overall. The canvas was first carefully removed from the stretcher and the margins relaxed flat by gently using humidification and gradual pressure. Once laid flat, the canvas edges were strip lined using BEVA371 heat setting film and medium weight archival polyester sailcloth strips. After strip lining, the painting was re-stretched with a polyester loose lining over the original stretcher to support the original canvas and keep it in plane. The Artist inscription on the reverse of the canvas was recorded and a facsimile print of this installed with the frame’s backing, to preserve provenance records.
Tags: 19th century, BEVA371, canvas, conservation, easel painting, loose lining, restoration, strip lining