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Paintings

Paintings can be some of the most valuable items in your collection so it is important to pay special attention as to where and how they are hung. Rapid variations in temperature and humidity, exposure to direct sunlight, smoke, damp etc., can damage your paintings so inspect regularly. If you note some of the tips below, honestly you will sleep much better!]

Cleaning

- Generally only dust frames and glass. Cleaning the actual picture itself should only be attempted by a recognised restorer or conservator.

- If you display your pictures sensibly they should never need to be cleaned.

- Gilded frames should be treated with particular care as they can be easily scratched and gold leaf removed.

Repair

- Pictures do suffer damage such as bangs and tears, but more normally may show signs of ageing such as flaking oil paint, darkened and dirty varnish, damage from smoke or damp, foxing, etc.

- In all cases do not attempt repairs yourself, consult a suitable qualified picture restorer or conservator.

Display

- Oil paintings are normally hung, framed but without glass.

- Watercolours are normally framed and mounted behind glass (the glass should not touch the picture and there should be sufficient space for the free circulation of air between picture and glass in order to deter mould).

- Card window mounts in frames should be acid free (acid mounts produce brown edges to the watercolour).

- Inspect regularly for brown spots or foxing which may indicate excessive humidity.

- Keep all pictures away from excessive smoke and other areas of potential atmospheric pollution.

- For hanging all paintings, eyehooks should be attached to the frame and not to the stretcher or backboard.

- Preferably use nylon cord for hanging. Copper or brass picture wire can be used but this will corrode with time.

- Heavy pictures are often hung vertically using chains attached to special frame brackets or alternatively given support along their base using a suitable wall mount or bracket.

- In all cases be satisfied that your hanging is totally secure.

- Never hang pictures in direct sunlight (watercolours will fade or yellow) and avoid closeness to open fires or radiators. Wooden frames warp easily.

- If framing behind glass use UV filter glass.

Handling

- Always hold with two hands and carry taking particular care not to hit other objects.

- For heavy pictures use two people to carry.

Storage

- Always store framed pictures in clean dry conditions at constant temperature and humidity (around 50%).

- Store upright in stacks or in specially designed racking.

- If stored in stacks, raise from floor on blocks and separate each picture with acid free board.

- Remove all hooks and brackets to prevent them damaging an adjacent frame or picture.

- Protect frames by wrapping in acid free tissue paper.

- Cover stack with a clean acid free cotton dust sheet.

- Do not use plastic sheets as these can cause condensation and hence mould or fungus.

- Inspect regularly for signs of damp or insect infestation.

- Unframed pictures should be stored flat and layered with acid free tissue.

- Preferably then store in acid free boxes.

References

- LAPADA - www.lapada.co.uk/care/pictures.htm

The Trusted Experts on the site will advice you about restoration and many other matters related to what we hope will be a very enjoyable and at times profitably hobby and past time.

Information compiled by Roger Heath-Bullock

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