Recovering Traditional Technique: The longevity of linseed oil at National Historic Sites in Canada #2

Artist: Mariana Esponda Cascajares


This tile is one in a series of three tiles from a study aimed at determining the longevity of different colours and layers of linseed oil. The base of the tiles is wood salvaged from the Parliament Hill East Block rehabilitation by Associate Professor Mariana Esponda during a site visit. This tile had two layers of white linseed oil applied for the study. The application of linseed oil is a traditional technique for material preservation used in the 19th century. Over the past 50 years, new materials and methods have replaced traditional ones. Modern materials have often been assumed to be better, but the opposite has proven true. Compared to modern oils and varnishes, linseed oil has demonstrated better durability. This research study aims to recover this traditional technique for its future use in architecture and conservation. It also aims to study the effect of climate change on new and old techniques. Twelve panels were installed at National Historic Sites across Canada under the stewardship of Parks Canada and monitored over several years to study the effect of weather, orientation, and other elements on the coating.