Conservation framing

Conservation framing involves using materials that have been proven not to damage your artwork over time, and to protect your artwork investment.

Ageing is a fact of life. Smoky and polluted air or too much contact with direct sunlight can damage artwork over time. Thinking about the environment that an item is to be displayed and the materials used in the frame’s construction is way we can help to slow down or stop this damage.
Almost anything that comes into contact with a work can cause damage over time, even airborne particles, so it is important to consider every aspect of a frame’s construction – from the mount boards and the glazing material to the techniques used to keep the object in position in the frame.

We at Eel Pie Pictures will talk you through the numerous options that are available, and help you decide on the ideal mix for your specific requirements.

Our methods are tried and trusted methods used by everyone from small private clients to leading conservators, so you can rest assured that – whatever your requirements – we will help to preserve your art and artefacts in their original state.

Our frames cannot only be aesthetically pleasing complements to an artwork, they are also be protective environments that keep it safe from chemical deterioration and physical damage.


We will talk you through all of these options, to allow you to make an informed decision about the type of frame that is right for your requirements. Our consultants will work closely with you to find out the nature of the artwork and the visual impact that you want your frame to make, and then suggest designs and materials that meet these precise aesthetic and conservational needs.

Of course, they also take into account other important factors, such as the environment in which the frame is to be hung, the deadline and the budget.

With all our knowledge we will help you select the best frame design, protective materials and overall frame construction to ensure that your art is presented and protected to the highest possible standards.


If you have ever left a newspaper on a windowsill for a long period of time, you’ll know the kind of irreversible damage that ultraviolet rays can cause. Works of art are just as susceptible. The effects are cumulative and lasting; but since they occur subtly and over time, they can often be difficult to notice at first. The symptoms include faded colours, yellowing, bleaching of paper fibres and the darkening of certain pigments. In addition, paper and other base materials can become brittle and degrade.

Since ultraviolet rays are present in both natural and artificial light, it is not enough simply to move your frame away from direct sunlight. Fortunately, a number of glazing options exist that can reduce the effects of ultraviolet rays. We recommend glazing with a UV filter of 99 per cent, particularly for watercolours, historical pieces and other delicate works.

As well as filtering harmful UV rays, glazing can also cut down on reflection. The use of inappropriate glazing materials can turn any frame into little more than a mirror. For pictures hung in a particularly bright area such as a conservatory we recommend Non-reflect glass that is virtually invisible. It diffuses the light so there is not reflection.

With large works, and those that are to be shipped in their frames, it is prudent to use Perspex glazing with UV filtration. Not only is this lighter, and therefore much easier to move around, it also – more importantly – protects the art from becoming damaged if the glazing breaks in transit.

Preservation boards
We have mount boards that are acid-free – but that term does not go far enough. They are entirely free from impurities, not just acid, but also lignin and the various other impurities that are found in ordinary ‘pulp’ board.

We also take into account the type of artwork surface, and advise accordingly. For instance, certain photographic processes react with alkaline-based materials, so in those circumstances it is important that non-buffered board is used, as it has a lower pH level.

Backing boards
Between your artwork and the PVA laminated backing board we always place acid-free box- board card to create a barrier between the hardboard, containing acid in the wood, and your artwork. The hardboard is also dense enough to provide protection against knocks to the rear of the frame.

Presentation materials
The materials chosen and techniques used are extremely importance. Any form of normal adhesive or can cause permanent damage to the surface of the artwork.

We use acid free tape to secure all artwork. We also have a special adhesive acid-free tape for photographs so the photo paper does not absorb the water in the glue. Again, with delicate artwork we prefer to use Japanese hinging. Japanese hinging has gained wide acceptance as a safe and reversible technique, using traditional Japanese tissue papers to attach the artwork into place.