Walter Langley Watercolour – Conservation Framing

A private collector recently brought their Walter Langley watercolour, The Fisherman Daughter, circa 1910, to the John Jones conservation department because of their renowned expertise in preserving works of art on paper.

Due to poor quality framing and varying artwork storage conditions our conservators discovered the watercolour had suffered fading and discolouration from light exposure, yellowing of adhesive residues, and visible rust stains. It was under risk of further damage due to an acidic secondary support which had deteriorated and become brittle, and even showed evidence of insect activity.

After conducting a condition report to check for long term damage our team of experts advised on a treatment plan in order to best preserve the work by lessening its acid exposure. Firstly they removed the artwork from its deteriorated secondary support, before using solvents under suction to lessen the adhesive residue, before humidifying and pressing the primary support. The preventative measures undertaken by our conservation team may not be dramatically visible, however they will preserve the artwork for longer than if treatment hadn’t taken place.

To ensure the watercolours longevity our design consultants produced a museum quality frame which aesthetically compliments the piece. They chose a poplar wood run sprayed in gesso that is sanded to a porcelain smooth finish to create the perfect surface for gilding. The gold leaf selected for this frame was painstakingly placed on a red clay base to bring out the warmer tones in the watercolour by our talented craftspeople. It was glazed using an ultra violet light protective glass and fitted into place using museum quality paper tabs to prevent future damage to the work.

For more information on conservation of artworks on paper, and how best to frame works of art with both preservation and presentation in mind, please contact a member of our team who will be happy to discuss options. Call us on 020 7561 8196 or email on

Please take a look at our other conservation case studies by clicking on the links below:


Utagawa Kunisada 

Francis Bacon 

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