Lincrusta is like linoleum for the walls and ceilings. It differs from Anaglypta wallpaper; it’s harder wearing as it doesn’t have a paper or vinyl base. As with Anaglypta it can be identified by its raised relief. It can be painted, and is perfect for hard wearing areas such as hallways.
It was very popular in the Edwardian period. I used to go to many Victorian houses in my old job and the, now sad looking, grand premises often had stained glass doors with Lincrusta on the hallway walls. They’d often be painted in gloss paint and, although they interested me, they often looked….bleugh. But it doesn’t need to be; more on that later.
Lincrusta is expensive. It’s about 300€ per roll and a freize with a Lincrusta design on it is the same amount. So bear that in mind if you’ve moved into a period home, spy it and want to tear it all down!
It’s made from a paste of gelled linseed oil and wood flour spread onto a paper base. It is then rolled between steel rollers, one of which has a pattern embossed upon it. The linseed gel continues to dry for many years, so the surface gets harder over time. This is why it’s so expensive and hard wearing.
Not only is Lincrusta expensive to buy, applying it is different from putting up standard paper or vinyl based wallpapers and would need a specialist. You need to cut the Lincrusta panels to the required size and then soak them in warm water until they are malleable, before sticking them to the wall using a special Lincrusta adhesive. The expertise is especially significant as it can’t be cut to allow it to go around corners.
A little history. Lincrusta was invented by Frederick Walton who also patented the aforementioned linoleum flooring in 1860. Lincrusta then followed in 1877 and was used in places from royal homes to railway carriages, hotel foyers, bars, restaurants and casinos.
Can you believe that it was in six staterooms on the Titanic? It’s also in the White House. Like I said – if you have it and are restoring please don’t tear it down!
Although Lincrusta was originally manufactured in various locations all over the world it is now produced in Morecambe, Lancashire using traditional methods.
Both oil-based and water-based paints can be applied to Lincrusta. Below are some inspirational images, but it’s worth bearing in mind that it can provide a base for a variety of treatments.
These are some traditional dado style Lincrusta. As said earlier, this is likely to be found in a hallway. Even giving it a fresh coat of eggshell paint will make it look dramatically different. However you’ll see other treatments too.
A whole wall of Lincrusta? Take a look at these…
Stunning isn’t it?
I can’t afford Lincrusta, I don’t even think I can afford Anaglypta – it’s poor, but still expensive, cousin. However I might be able to afford some embossed wallpaper. Why would I want to introduce this into our house? When you live in a period, stone house you notice the cold. Once it gets warm it stays warm, but this is largely because we have double glazing. However we’re always looking for ways to add insulation.
As there are a lot of these types of homes here in France using a thin layer of polyesterene prior to wallpapering is common. It adds a layer between the cold stone and the wallpaper, stops the heat seeping into the wall.
In the upper rooms and hallway we have a lot of polystyrene tiles on the ceiling for this reason (😱). So I’m thinking of replacing that with a polystyrene sheet and some embossed wallpaper. It won’t have the durability of the Lincrusta, but you don’t exactly get a lot of traffic on the ceiling. Why would I do this? Take a look…
The other way I’ve been inspired by Anaglypta is the friezes. They’re as much as the wallpaper. Yikes! So I’ve come up with an alternative. I’ll tell you about this shortly, but here’s what’s got me salavating…