We knew that when rabbit-skin glue dries it can pull off a layer of glass from inside of a beaker. This material is a fine, even polyester yarn which has been tightly woven, followed by heat treatment to shrink the canvas and lock the weave in place. This paper catalogues major changes in attitude during the last thirty years to conservation practice for the treatment of degraded painting canvases and outlines current practice at Tate. However we can predict that when certain difficult works eventually need to be treated future conservators will have serious or insurmountable problems. Framing policy has proved extremely effective in the past 30 years.18 The application of backboards, the strengthening of frames to ensure rigidity and the application of low reflecting glass whenever possible provides effective mechanical protection and ensures a microclimate around each work, which is far more stable than the best air-conditioning system. We could soften some paints but not usually the lead whites. It is luxurious with a slight texture, similar to watercolor paper, and a matte surface. We can take off an old lining but it is unlikely that we can repair flattened impasto or emphasised canvas weave. Just as important as the decision between paper and canvas is the decision of which printer and framer to hire. Detached scientific studies of lining processes may not be able to take into account the full nature and range of the paintings that are under consideration.

It is heat sealed at 65 degrees centigrade. I will be experimenting with some of these. Paper, for reasons of both aesthetics and durability, needs to be more elaborately mounted and framed, with backing behind it and matte and glass in front of it. Bristol paper made with 100% cotton fiber should be a fine paper substrate for oil painting – the thicker the paper the better. Conservators understand the behaviour and effect of a glue layer sitting as a separate layer on top of the canvas because it was applied cold by spatula in a thick gelatinous solution by a colourman such as Roberson. Stephen Hackney is Head of Conservation Science at Tate.

They also have the same archival properties as the canvas prints and are printed with the same type of high quality inks. The most common surface for oil colours, and one that has been used for centuries, is stretched, primed canvas.

When a painted canvas is stretched on top of a polyester loose-lining its weight is supported by the polyester and it need not be stretched so tightly. If so, I was wondering what you thought, and if you painted on them “as is”, or did you prime them. I really don't recommend having them out in the open, as they will get dirty from dust and everyday particals which overtime will affect the colors of the prints.
Read our recommendations for the best sizes and primers for watercolour paper, and learn how to apply them ready for oil painting. In the nineteenth century several London colourmen sold double canvases, for example W. Brown of Holborn and later, Robersons and Winsor and Newton. We knew that in dry conditions paintings become very brittle and can cause paint to flake. By gouging out a small piece of the honeycomb at the edges a shaped piece of softwood can be inserted all the way round. You’re always welcome Ed!

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