The painting arrived in the studio with the canvas in very dried-out and brittle condition. There were scattered tears and holes as well as major tears along the tacking edges which caused the painting to come loose from the stretcher. The painting was also covered by a thick brown discolored varnish.
Linings are done to repair tears and overall reinforce the original canvas’s structure. In this case, the lining overall reinforces a weakened canvas and flattens the painting as well. Notice how much better the painting reads once it is flat. Linings have been done for hundreds of years and many adhesives have been used. Traditionally, animal glue, starch paste and beeswax were used as adhesives. Recently, microcrystalline wax and synthetic adhesives such as BEVA and Plextol have been introduced and find widespread use. Stretched linen is usually used for the lining canvas. Recently, synthetic canvases have been introduced and sandwich layers consisting of canvas, mylar and polyester monofilament are occasionally used to create stiffer linings (which can be important to hold tears flat). As all different paintings have different requirements, the adhesive and secondary support (lining canvas) can be adjusted to suit the painting’s needs.
Recently there has been an emphasis in keeping paintings unlined if possible. Many collectors prefer to see the reverse of the original canvas and in some cases a lining could effect the value of the painting. There are alternate treatments to treat structural problems without lining, such as strip-lining which can be performed by Sherman Art Conservation.