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Many churches contain easel paintings, particularly in the prominent position over the altar. Most paintings were commissioned and painted especially for their place in the church and form an important part of the building's history. Some were donated by parishioners, thus constituting an important record of congregation's involvement with their local church.

Paintings may be made of many different materials including varnish, paint (consisting of pigments and a binding medium such as oil), glue, canvas, wood, metal, gilding and plaster. The paint may be applied to canvas or panels, which may be framed or not, or protected by glazing and backing.

This section will help you identify the signs of damage to paintings and understand the causes of damage. You will also find practical maintenance tips and guidance on how to address the conservation needs of historic objects.

This section does not apply to wall paintings, miniatures, paintings on glass, ivory or parchment or watercolours, prints or drawings as each of these have different requirements.