Conservation Framing

Conservation and Museum levels of framing occupy the Fine Art Trade Guild’s two highest standards of quality bespoke picture framing. Both offer an extremely high level of protection from the environmental factors and framing materials in normal conditions. Only the very best of materials and techniques are used and all processes are fully reversible thereby causing no damage or alteration to the artwork.

Museum level of framing should offer the ultimate level of protection for up to 35 years and is best suited for artwork that needs to be reserved for future generations. Such artwork might include high value items and those with potential or historical value.

Similarly, the aim of conservation framing is to visually enhance artwork and offer a high level of protection from physical and mechanical damage, airborne pollutants and acids generated by framing materials, for approximately 20 years under normal conditions.

Conservation framing is suitable for collectable artwork intended for future generations e.g. original paintings and limited editions of moderately high value.

Harlequin Frames offers conservation framing advice and service to its customers. It's with significant pride that it offers this service, ensuring there is no alteration to an item's original condition achieved by using the only the highest quality materials and techniques; thereby providing protection and longevity for customers artwork.

Environmental factors that will damage artwork include;


Acid damage caused by contact with contaminated materials that include in the main those containing woodpulp. Acid damage is commonly identified by brownish marks and mount bevels turning brown, the acids from these bevels can migrate and damage the artwork.

UV Light causes many paints and inks to fade; it also causes deterioration to paper. Once the colour in artwork has been altered or faded, this change will be permanent. Weakened paper can be treated.

Heat, damp and humidity. These factors will in effect accelerate the deterioration of paper and is one of the main causes of cockling of artwork. They will increase the effect of acid damage and encourage the formation of mould, fungus and foxing.

Airborne pollutants do cause damage especially on oil paintings and whilst glazing does offer some protection atmospheric gases when in contact with moisture (high humidity) can oxidise and the resulting acids cause damage. In addition, outgassing from inappropriate materials used in framing can also damage artwork.

Insects and, particularly in the UK, thunderflies are a continuing problem; these will stain the artwork if left inside frames. Further, woodworm and other insects can cause considerable damage to artwork.