The linen cultists are under siege. It appears that polyester,- in addition to making a splash on the golf course- is also being considered as a superior surface to paint on. Madame Pickwick, despite some reservations, is however going to be importing Winsor-Newton linen canvas into Canada. In some ways, it is a status painting surface since with a few coats of gesso there does not appear to be a substantial difference with cotton duck. Also, linen tends to lose its tension on the frame quicker, if you’ve ever noticed some of the sagging in an art store. Howver, the Winsor-Newton linen is assembled in Poland which bodes well.
They have had quality issues with cotton canvas , mainly warped frames. The company said their Chinese canvas is “made in the jungle.” We were not aware there was a jungle in China, and it gives the impression of manufacturing under Graham Greene type conditions in the Heart of Darkness. A nuber of years ago we were sent samples from a small American company, since closed of stretched linen canvas from Poland and the quality was impressive. The finish was a bit rough, but it was a nice hunk of goods and it looked like a lot of soul and elbow grease had been put into the make and finish.
…In Ovid’s “Metamorphoses” the Egyptian goddess Isis is addressed as “dea linigera”, which means the “Linen Goddess”. The “linigeri” (the wearers of linen) were the priests belonging to the Isis cult in Rome.
From quite early on, methods were developed to weave the rugged linen fibres in an especially dense manner. The Etruscan city of Tarquinii supplied the Roman fleet with strong, hard-wearing linen canvas for sails around 500 B.C. Particularly densely-woven linen soaked in linseed oil (also taken from flax) and hardened by oxidation through contact with air was worn as armour by the Etruscans. …Read More:http://www.die-leinenweber.de/linen-cultural-history-en_10.html
The weave in linen is usually finer , albeit more uneven than canvas,and some claim a more “organic” feel. The future does seem to be polyester though, which is more stable, will not buckle under a Canadian winter and is cheaper, though the purists may be up in arms. Prices to be determined, not cheap but look for the intro offer.