Recently a client approached us with a collection of 39 etchings that he had great concern over. Not only did each of the etchings suffer from foxing and acidic contamination, but they were also being contained within two very old and frail portfolios that were barely intact.
For art collectors, their primary and understandable concern is regarding the condition of their artworks. How to protect, display and store artworks appropriately for longevity is something that is often put to one side.
In this case, the restoration of the individual etchings was safely and successfully undertaken by our paper conservator with fantastic results.
As our client had not contemplated how he would come to have the newly restored etchings displayed or stored, we raised this for discussion. We advised that appropriate display and storage for such a collection was vital to ensure they were protected going forward.
As our client wished to have regular access to individual etchings and they would not be publicly exhibited, we advised a solution to have the etchings carefully displayed in a museum-standard archival ring-binder box. This type of storage and display solution is suitable for protecting works on paper to conservation standards and is moisture and vermin resistant. In addition, individual etchings were to be inserted into museum-standard pockets to allow for easy and safe access. Made from chemically-inert polyester material, this would provide long-term protection for the etchings against fading, colour loss and yellowing.
It is important to understand how and where artworks will be stored once restoration work is complete, whether on display, in long or short-term storage or elsewhere. Providing relevant advice and storage solutions will further protect artworks and minimise the risk of any future damage or deterioration.