Top Tips on How To Care for Artwork Longer-term

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:

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Step 1

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.

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Step 2

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.

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Step 3

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.

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Step 4

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: