Pastel portrait example

Child pastel portrait before restoration

Our ICON accredited paper conservator is highly skilled when it comes to the preservation of historic and contemporary artworks in this medium, whether they have been disturbed by mould and foxing, or have faced devastating damage from tears, flaking or creasing. 

Our ICON accredited paper conservator is able to professionally restore issues such as:

  • Mould growth and moisture disturbances
  • Foxing, staining and discolouration
  • Tears and creasing
  • Water damage
  • Fire and smoke damage
  • Acidic mount and frame deterioration
  • Damages following a household disaster or accidents

Fragile pigments

Pastels are a very soft medium and their binding agent can sometimes be affected by the environment or by natural decay. This leads to the flaking or dusting away of loosening powdered colours. Older glass may have a static quality, this can attract the loosening pigments away from the artwork.

If this type of damage occurs to pastel, chalk or charcoal artworks, our conservator will always work to re-adhere loose pigments where possible. Losses can be sensitively retouched with conservation-appropriate pigments. 

Natural fixing agents were sometimes used from the 19th century onwards, but generally antique pastels, charcoals and chalks have no protective layer.

Today, various options are available for fixing pastels in place, but these are not recommended for an attempt at home and will not be used during conservation treatment, as they can darken and disturb the artwork over time. Instead, conservation-approved framing options are recommended. 

Conservation framing

Our specialist technicians offer frames appropriate for the ongoing protection of artworks, this includes acid-free mounts and backing boards.

A deep mount is required when choosing a frame for chalk, charcoal or pastel artworks. This ensures that the picture is unable to rub against the glass or any surrounding elements.

All protective aspects will be carefully considered by our knowledgeable conservators and framing specialists when your pastel, chalk or charcoal artwork is framed. 

UV protection

Our framing team recommend UV protective glazing to avoid the disturbance or fading of pigments in bright display locations. This is important for pastel artworks that may have light-sensitive pigments.

Child pastel portrait after restoration

Julia artwork tip

Pastel man example

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Before and after - slide to restore

torn photograph
Modern pastel portrait
Queen poster
Modern art poster
Antique map
Discoloured antique print
Torn discoloured watercolour

Although my print was badly degraded by the artist's use of double-sided tape and an acidic backing mount, it had great emotional significance for me. It felt like a risky leap of faith to send it as I had not used Fine Art Restoration Company before. It came back immaculate and transformed, returned to its original condition and with no discernable damage to the subtle graphite drawing. The company were reassuring and returned it with no hassle. Highly recommended.

We sent in a very mouldy print that came back probably in better condition than when it was bought! We were constantly updated as to the status of the restoration and the service was impeccable. We had previously sent in a small oil painting for cleaning that now hangs in pride of place. Both had sentimental value of familiar places. I can highly recommend the quality of the work and the fantastic customer service.

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