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A conservation method dating back to the 19th century, linen backing is used to mount and preserve vintage poster. modern backing techniques using archival materials protect and stabilize the poster, allowing it to be handled, displayed or framed without compromising its value. Linen backing not only improves the appearance of a poster but can increase its value. 

Linen backing, touch-up and all restoration performed at Poster Conservation is water based, and therefore reversible with water. This is important because the use of non-water based materials, i.e. acrylic paints which are essentially plastic, destroy the value of a poster once applied. 


A restoration method used to repair or fill in holes and cracks in the poster, using paper selected from a vast library of scrap poster paper, or new archival papers, that best match the poster's color, texture and thickness. After linen backing the poster, pieces of paper are carefully glued using an archival rice starch. Once the paper has been replaced, water based pigments are used to match the color, creating an almost seamless repair. 


Certain restoration tecniques can dramatically reverse the tears, folds and losses posters suffer over the years. A linen backing flattens any folds and allows tears to be positioned back together. As a second step, a restoration artist can make folds and tears disappear and restore color losses with colored pencils and watercolor paints. Losses, or holes , can be remedied by using a piece of another poster to fill in the area. 


Washing, or rehydration, with water aids in removing contaminants and surface dirt. When Necessary, a rince with an appropriate carbonate will also help to provide a buffer and keep the naturally occurring acids found in modern paper at non-harmful levels for many years.


Bleaching is necessary when a poster has distracting visible stains or has turned brown due to exposure to the elements. Foxing (small, scattered red-brown spots) and dark fold lines can also be eliminated through bleaching. Depending on the type of paper the poster is printed on, a specific chemical is chosen to produce the best visual result without harming the paper. 


Re-Lining is the process of removing a poster that has been mounted to paper, canvas, board or any other stabilizing materiel. This process is typically recommended if your poster is mounted to a material that is not conservation quality. Since the turn of the Century posters have been mounted to many different materials most of which are highly acidic and therefore damaging to paper. Posters mounted to these acidic materials must be removed and linen backed to acid free buffered materials.


Typically found on old poster as a misguided attempt as reinforcement or repair, tape and other adhesives can cause damage and discoloration. Removal of any adhesive must be done prior to linen backing. It is a delicate process - using chemicals - and must be done carefully to maintain the integrity of the poster. 

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