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After Care

Hanging your painting

Think about the positioning of your painting in relation to accidental damage from knocking. * Avoid hanging close to shelves, furniture or where people can knock it. * Avoid hanging behind doors, or in busy corridors where the painting can get knocked. You should also think about the environmental conditions in which your paintings hang. During the summer in Britain, the conditions in a well ventilated room are, in general, fairly good for paintings. However, in the winter months, extremes of temperature or relative humidity can cause problems, for example, the central heating in homes really dries out the air and causes problems; whilst rooms that suffer from damp will have high humidity and dampness encourages mould or mildew.

The following points are worth considering when hanging your paintings if you want to take steps to ensure the best possible environmental conditions.

* Try to avoid hanging over direct heat or moisture sources, for example, right over fires, radiators, heaters, hot water or central heating pipes; in bathrooms, kitchens or around swimming pools.

* Avoid hanging over or next to outdoor vents, or on damp walls.

* Avoid hanging in rooms that are well heated in the winter (paintings on wood are the most vulnerable).

* Picture lights attached to or near to the top of a painting can get hot and lead to localised heating. It is best to take advice on lighting.

* Bear in mind that paintings will build up dirt more quickly in rooms with an open fire or where people smoke. Think about the security of your painting, and take the following steps to ensure that it is hung safely.

* Hanging fitments should be fixed to the sides of the frame, not the top. Choose a thick and solid part of the frame. Make sure screws are secure but do not push them through the front. * Use good quality picture wire or medium gauge fishing line, run it double and trim off extra lengths.

* Attach alarms to backs of frames or backboards, not the back of the canvas or panel.

* Conservators can provide advice on methods of lighting that will not cause localised heating; they may also be able to advise on security fittings.


As with all objects in your home a painting will collect dust and dirt. Dust can be removed using a very soft brush with metal elements protected so that they cannot be a cause of damage. Avoid feather dusters, sheep skin dusters, however soft, as they catch. You must be careful to check that there is no paint flaking before dusting. Do not attempt any dusting if the surface appears unstable. If your painting has glass this will need cleaning from time to time. Always spray glass cleaner onto the cloth, not the glass. Spray well away from your painting. The use of backboards is recommended as a preventive conservation measure to protect against the accumulation of dust and dirt, as well as against knocks and accidental damage. A conservator can fit backboards to your paintings for you. Do not attempt any repair or cleaning yourself. This is a skilled process and should only be carried out by a fully qualified conservator.

What you can do to protect your paintings during Moving and handling

Tears, holes, scratches and dents are most likely to happen when your painting is off the wall. If you plan ahead when moving paintings, these damages can usually be avoided. For example, plan a move by making sure you have somewhere to put your painting before you move it; ideally when off the wall paintings should rest face out against a clear wall on a padded surface, away from doorways, furniture and passing people. Always make sure your hands are very clean and dry before moving a painting and make sure the painting is securely fitted into the frame. When carrying your painting, have it facing towards your body and use both hands, one to hold the edge and the other to support it from beneath. Paintings with glass or ornate frames can be heavy, assess whether you need two people before embarking on the move.

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