Framing serves two purposes; to protect the artwork and to display it in a complementary fashion. The level of protection required dictates the type and quality of materials used, and depends on the value and irreplaceability of the artwork. The window mount and frame moulding must be chosen to complement the artwork; moulding styles tend to go in and out of fashion and may be chosen not only to suit the picture, but the location where it will be hung. The window acts as a border between the picture and the frame, and a well-chosen mount will visually enhance the artwork; the mount also prevents the artwork from touching the glazing.
Types of Mount Board
Manufactured from wood pulp. Contains acidic lignin which will discolour over time, and can damage artwork.
Standard mount board which has been bleached to keep the core white, but can still damage artwork.
Manufactured from chemically purified alpha-cellulose wood fibre with lignin removed, to render it pH neutral. Face papers are alkaline sized, and are coloured with pigment (not dye) to enhance durability.
Made from virgin cotton fibres. It has natural archival qualities and is completely acid free.
It is recommended that original art and valuable limited editions should be framed using conservation or museum grade mount board.
Types of Glazing
- Standard Float
The most common type of glass used for framing. Low UV protection.
- Water White
A low iron float glass without the green cast, used when absolute colour fidelity is required. Low UV protection.
- Diffused/Reflection Control
Standard or water white glass with an etched surface to diffuse surface reflections. Can soften the picture, particularly if within a deep mount. Generally low UV protection but is available with a UV protective coating.
Water white glass with an optical interference coating which cancels out surface reflections. Typically blocks 65% UV.
- UV Control
Has a UV filter coating on one side which typically blocks 98% UV.
- Anti-Reflection & UV Control
Sometimes referred to as Museum glass, this combines the properties of anti-reflection and UV glass, being almost invisible when viewed straight on and providing 98% UV protection.
- Laminated Glass
Used when safety is an issue. Offers the highest protection from UV, typically 99%. Available in float, water white, diffused and anti-reflection.
Used when weight and/or safety are an issue. It is available clear, or with diffused reflection, anti-reflection and scratch-resistant coatings. UV protection is provided; with Acrylic the UV protection is in the material rather than applied as a coating. Acrylic glazing is normally avoided when glazing pastels or charcoal drawings since cleaning can build up static electricity, causing the pastel or charcoal to migrate from the artwork to the glazing. However, Acrylic is now available with anti-static properties which some manufacturers claim is better than glass. Museum grade Acrylic is now available, and combines UV, anti-reflection, anti-static and anti-scratch properties. It is, however, rather expensive!
Coated glass should not be cleaned with abrasive or ammonia based cleaners, but with optical glass cleaner or water with a very small amount of liquid soap, and using a clean micro fibre cloth. Acrylic glazing may be cleaned with plastic or non-abrasive glass cleaner; coated Acrylic should be treated the same as coated glass.
Consideration should be given to the use of UV control glass for original art or valuable limited edition prints.
Although professional framing adds to the cost of the finished artwork, it also adds value and may improve saleability.
In addition to the mount boards listed above, I offer a range of conservation-grade boards covered with linen or silk. I am always happy to discuss customers’ requirements, and I offer a discounted rate to members of the FVACN.
By David Craig Hughes
See my website: www.davidcraighughes.co.uk for contact details