Belgian Linen Canvas, grown from the flax produced in Belgium and the Netherlands, is still considered to be the superior choice for Artists who want to work on a specific textured cloth.

Belgian linen canvas texture
Belgian Linen canvas is distinguished by its unique natural colour and irregular character of  weave, which is the result of the round shape of the linen fibres – this texture permeates through the layers of paint, imparting a sense of depth to the work. Individual linen fibres are considerably longer and springier than cotton’s; the material is therefore somewhat more durable and has a livelier feel when stretched.

Machine coated a number of times with either oil or universal primer, or glue sizing, very specific methodologies are employed to obtain a uniform surface. For an oil canvas, zinc white bound with linseed oil is used as the primer. A coat of titanium white is applied after drying. With acrylic or universal linen, two coats of titanium white are applied with an acrylic binder.

All varieties of Belgian linen canvas, varying in weave texture, priming type and cloth weight, are imported by Winsen’s Canvases as pre-primed, 2.1 meter wide rolls. The cloth is also available unprimed or, what is becoming increasingly popular, clear glue sized, allowing the unique canvas colour to come through the artwork. Although not an exact science, heavier graded linens are seen as more suitable for larger panels, while a lighter grade is sufficient for smaller paintings.

As with Cotton Duck, the natural linen fibres can respond to changes in humidity, swelling in humid weather and shrinking in dry weather. The stretcher frame therefore needs be keyed with suitable wedges in the expansion corners and cross-bar struts. That been said, the warp and weft threads are equal in weight and strength, making it less susceptible to expansion and contraction. Linens do retain their natural oils, and this helps preserve fabric flexibility over time.

Given their reputation and popularity among Artists, Belgian Linens are highly-valued. Working with Linen brings the pleasure of painting on a cloth that can be specifically suited to the artist’s style and preference and carries the nostalgia of using a material trusted by the Old Masters.

Belgian Linen Canvas includes:

Quality12
Width2,10
CanvasLinen
StructureModerately fine
PrimerPrimed
PreparationOil
PaintOil
#warp threads/cm20
#weft threads/cm16
Weight in gsm (grams per square metre)385
TreatmentOil primed(2xpaint)

Quality166
Width2,10
CanvasLinen
StructureMedium
PrimerPrimed
PreparationUniversal
PaintAcrylic/oil
#warp threads/cm17
#weft threads/cm14,5
Weight in gsm (grams per square metre)415
TreatmentUniversal primed (2xpaint)

Quality13DP
Width2,10
CanvasLinen
StructureVery fine
PrimerPrimed
PreparationOil
PaintOil
#warp threads/cm23
#weft threads/cm23
Weight in gsm (grams per square metre)355
TreatmentOil double primed(3xpaint)

Quality168
Width2,10
CanvasLinen
StructureRough
PrimerPrimed
PreparationUniversal
PaintAcrylic/oil
#warp threads/cm20
#weft threads/cm16
Weight in gsm (grams per square metre)540
TreatmentUniversal primed (2xpaint)

QualityH4
Width2,10
CanvasJute
StructureVery rough
PrimerPrimed
PreparationOil
PaintOil
#warp threads/cm7,5
#weft threads/cm6
Weight in gsm (grams per square metre)745
TreatmentOil primed(2xpaint)

Quality1H4
Width2,10
CanvasJute
StructureVery rough
PrimerPrimed
PreparationUniversal
PaintAcrylic/oil
#warp threads/cm7,5
#weft threads/cm6
Weight in gsm (grams per square metre)635
TreatmentUniversal primed (2xpaint)

Quality013
Width2,10
CanvasLinen
StructureVery fine
PrimerUnprimed
Preparation
Paint
#warp threads/cm23
#weft threads/cm23
Weight in gsm (grams per square metre)210
TreatmentUnprimed

Quality013GL
Width2,10
CanvasLinen
StructureVery fine
PrimerPrimed
PreparationGlued
PaintAcrylic/oil
#warp threads/cm23
#weft threads/cm23
Weight in gsm (grams per square metre)213
TreatmentGlued (2x glue)

Quality113
Width2,10
CanvasLinen
StructureVery fine
PrimerPrimed
PreparationUniversal
PaintAcrylic/oil
#warp threads/cm23
#weft threads/cm23
Weight in gsm (grams per square metre)312
TreatmentUniversal primed (2xpaint)

Quality029GL
Width2,10
CanvasLinen
StructureHeavy
PrimerPrimed
PreparationGlued
PaintAcrylic/oil
#warp threads/cm21,6
#weft threads/cm12,5
Weight in gsm (grams per square metre)425
TreatmentGlued (2x glue)

References:

  •  The Artist’s Handbook of Materials and Techniques. Fifth edition. Ralph Meyer
  •  The Artist’s Pocket Guidebook. Jim Cobb and Kirk Miller
  •  The Painters Handbook. Mark David Gottsegen.
  •  The Materials of the Artist and their Use in Painting. Max Doern