Top Tips on How To Care for Artwork Longer-term
The first step in caring for works of art is to consider framing. At John Jones, our expert design consultants can help clients select the most appropriate, acid-free materials. The following information provides further recommendations on how to care for artwork long-term, once installed:
Regularly check on the condition of artworks and framing materials once installed:
• It is useful to keep condition reports on record to check any changes against.
• The presence of insects inside a frame, as well as possibly presenting a direct risk, might suggest high moisture levels. Dead insects can lead to staining and mould activity.
• Distortions in an artwork can be related to fluctuating humidity levels or failing adhesives.
• Colour changes are a sure sign of on-going chemical changes. Darkened mount bevels indicate acidic boards have been used.
Exposure to light can cause accumulating damage. Managing exposure in any of the following ways can help limit this:
• Framing the artwork using UV-filtering glazing.
• Managing natural light using blinds and window films.
• Selecting artificial light sources that don't emit UV.
• Avoiding placing artworks in direct sunlight or too close to artificial light sources.
High humidity levels can encourage mould growth, insect activity and speed up many deterioration reactions:
• Relative humidity levels can be measured using a hygrometer or monitored long-term using digital dataloggers.
• Dehumidifiers can be used to lower high humidity levels.
• Hanging artworks on exterior walls can increase risk, but adding impermeable backboards behind frames can offer extra protection.
• Exterior walls can be more prone to damp problems if they are in regular shade or sheltered.
Reaction rates and humidity fluctuations are closely related to temperature levels:
• Artworks should not be placed too close to heat sources such as radiators.
• Light sources can also be a source of heat. Halogen lights require particular caution, while fibre optics filters out warming infrared light.
• Long-term temperature fluctuations can be monitored using dataloggers.
• Lower and more stable temperature levels can be of long-term benefit.
Our conservation team can carry out on-site assessments of display conditions and provide specific advice. Please contact us for more information and to arrange consultations. Email: Conservation@johnjones.co.uk