SAFE PACKING WHEN YOU MOVE
WAYS TO DISPLAY ART
START AN AFFORDABLE ART COLLECTION
HOW TO CREATE A WALL GALLERY AT YOUR HOME & OFFICE
TEXT SOURCE: THE BRITISH ASSOCIATION OF PAINTINGS CONSERVATORS-RESTORERS
CARE FOR YOUR PAINTINGS
Paintings are susceptible to damage if handled, stored or displayed incorrectly. In an ideal museum setting, paintings are displayed and stored in stable environmental conditions. The lighting, temperature and relative humidity is tightly controlled and maintained at levels thought to be best for the long-term preservation of paintings. Although such control over the environment is not always possible in domestic or private settings, by following a few key guidelines and taking simple precautions you can help preservation of your collection for the future. The information below offers a general guideline.
Display and Storage
When considering the best place to display/store paintings the following should be taken into account:
Framing and Backboards
Framing a painting can provide both a decorative and a protective function. Make sure that the painting is secure in its frame (seek advice from a conservation professional if you are unsure about this), and that hanging fixtures are sufficiently robust to hold the weight of the painting and are firmly attached. All hanging fixtures should be checked periodically to ensure that they are still sound. The frame rebate should be lined so that it is smooth or cushioned and cannot damage the paint surface at the edges of the painting. There should be some space between the painting and the wall for air to circulate as stagnant air can lead to mould growth. Attaching 10 mm squares of Plastazote, cork, or smoothed wood to the back of the bottom of the frame is a simple and inexpensive way of improving airflow. Fitting a backboard can also be considered to protect the reverse of the painting from punctures, knocks and deposition of dirt. A backboard also reduces the vibration of paintings on canvas supports and can help reduce the formation of cracks over time.
Wrapping, Transport and Handling
The best way to protect your painting when it is moved will vary greatly depending on the materials from which it is made, where it is going, how it will get there and who will be handling it. Before making a decision about wrapping, storing or transporting your painting it is recommended that you seek professional advice. Poor practice, or the wrong choice of wrapping materials, may actively damage the painting. We would strongly advise consulting a conservator if the surface is soft, sticky, flaking, infested with insects or mould, or includes loose or sculptural components. Modern, contemporary and acrylic paintings are often particularly vulnerable surfaces and may be permanently damaged by contact with materials such as bubble wrap.
Paintings are often at high risk when being moved. Their surfaces are susceptible to scratches, scuffs, handling marks, tears and cracks. If a conservator or professional art handler is not able to move the painting, to reduce the risk of damage one can: