Looking After Your Framed Artwork

family in various photo frames on wall

• Avoid heat – You should never hang your pictures above radiators. Extreme or rapid changes in temperature cause paper and wood to dry out and adhesives to fail.


• Beware damp – Damp can cause pictures to ripple and encourages fungal growth – likely to show as brown stains. Conservation framing will slow these effects, but it is always best to avoid hanging framed pictures in humid conditions. Six months should be allowed before hanging pictures on newly plastered walls.


• Eye-level display – Remember most pictures are designed to be viewed at eye-level. When hanging a group of pictures of different sizes it is best to align the top edges. Groups of pictures need not be hung in symmetrical patterns, but they should follow some sort of overall design. Try arranging them on the floor first.


• Hang securely – For hanging pictures safely, two hooks will be needed on the wall, each set about a quarter of the way in from either side of the picture. Use cord, wire or other hanger designed to support the weight of the artwork. Where safety is critical (eg. in children’s bedrooms) use security fittings and glazing.


• A gentle clean – Frames should be dusted or treated with a soft brush. If cleaning fluids have to be used on the glass, apply them to a duster first.


• Cleaning fluids or water should never be used on the varnished surface of oil paintings.


• Regular checks – If you find any evidence of discolouration or insects under the glass, you should return the piece to us for us to rectify professionally. Check for corroding picture wire or weak or loosening cord. The varnish on oil paintings will gradually discolour and should be replaced as it dirties. Oil paintings stretched over wooden bars may sag over time, so should be tightened or re-stretched.


• Out of the light – It is best not to hang pictures directly opposite large windows. Conservation glazing can help to slow light deterioration down.


• Handle with care – When you are carrying and transporting a picture you have had framed, grasp the frame firmly on both sides. If you have to store pictures, make sure they are stacked vertically and the right way up. When stacking pictures, they should be stood ‘glass to glass’ so that the hangers do not damage the frames.

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