Maintenance
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Maintenance

  • Paintings are best hung in a stable environment without extremes of temperatures or relative humidity. Damp spaces and spaces which are well-heated in winter should be avoided. Paintings should not be hung over sources of heat or moisture, such as radiators or heaters.
  • In order to avoid accidental physical damage, paintings should be hung away from furniture and busy areas of the church and not behind doors. Judiciously positioned furniture may help prevent contact with the painting.
  • If there are no signs of flaking paint, paintings can be carefully dusted using a soft brush. If in doubt or if the surface appears unstable, consult a specialist conservator.
  • If a painting is glazed, clean the glass with glass cleaner which has been sprayed onto the cloth but not the glass.
  • If small pieces of paint or details of the frame have fallen off, they should be carefully collected and stored. A specialist conservator may be able to reattach the parts.
  • Paintings can be protected from sunlight by curtains. This is also recommended if your church has bats.
  • Most damage occurs when paintings are being moved. Ideally any handling should be kept to the minimum.
  • During building work or redecoration, the paintings should either be removed or appropriately protected, following specialist advice.
  • Before moving a painting, make sure that it is securely fitted into the frame. Small paintings can be carried in a vertical position, using both hands and with the painted side facing towards, but not touching, your body. When resting a painting against the bottom of a wall make sure it is not at danger from doorways, furniture and passing people. The moving and handling of larger and heavier paintings are best left to specialists.

You can find more information on the care of paintings on the Institute of Conservation (ICON) leaflet Care and Conservation of Oil Paintings.