What is Linen Backing?
Linen Backing is a conservation method used to mount and preserve vintage posters so they can be displayed or framed without compromising value. Damaged posters are stabilized through linen backing and restoration to protect the poster from further damage. Linen backing holds the poster flat and smooth allowing it to be easily handled, stored or framed.
Most vintage posters have suffered tears, folds and losses over the years. This makes them look frayed and irreparable. Don't let this discourage you. An experienced restorer is capable of bringing a damaged poster back to life. Folds can be easily flattened once the poster has been linen backed and tears can be positioned back together. This first step of the linen backing process is the back-bone of bringing your poster back to life. Once linen backed, these folds and tears will virtually disappear when a restoration artist carefully restores color loss using colored pencils and watercolor paints. Losses can be replaced by using a piece of another poster to fill the loss. Most expert restorers have a large archive of scrap posters, which can be used to replace most losses. A properly restored poster can look dramatically better than its former self.
Trust an expert
Before you entrust your poster or collection to a restorer make sure you fully understand the techniques that are being used by that restorer. A responsible restorer will only use materials that are acid free and reversible with water. This is an important question to ask before you have your poster linen backed and restored. There are some people who use irreversible mounting adhesives and acrylic paints to restore posters. Acrylic paints and irreversible mounting adhesives will render your poster worthless.
Images courtesy M&W Graphics