Maintenance
sponsored by ecclesiastical
Supporting over 16,000 cathedral and church buildings of The Church of England

Maintenance

  • Keep the building in a good state of repair and regularly check the roof and rainwater goods and drainage.
  • If water stains appear on or near a wall painting it is vital to find the cause and stop the leak as soon as possible. A conservator will be able to take emergency measures to protect the wall paintings.
  • Never touch the surface of a wall painting - they are highly vulnerable to abrasion. Judiciously positioned furniture may help prevent contact with the painting, but make sure that the furniture does not touch the wall.
  • Never screw, fix or nail anything to the surfaces of a wall painting.
  • A stable environment without dramatic fluctuations in heat and humidity is ideal.
  • Protect wall paintings from direct sunlight where possible.
  • Inspect the paintings regularly (and ideally at least quarterly) for any signs of damage. Regular photographing can be useful in order to assess whether a wall painting is fading or just becoming dusty.
  • Protect the wall paintings during building work or redecoration, following specialist advice.
  • Engage an accredited conservator to dust and clean wall paintings – do not include them in the parish's normal cleaning regime.
  • If small parts of paint or plaster have fallen off the wall, collect them by hand and keep them in an envelope or flat box. An accredited conservator may be able to reattach the parts.

You can find more information on the care of wall paintings on the Institute of Conservation (ICON) web page Care and Conservation of Decorative Schemes and Surfaces.

English Heritage has published leaflets on protecting wall paintings during building works (click here to dowload), producing wall paintings conservation documents (click here to download) and anticipating and responding to the discovery of wall paintings (click here to download).