FAQs

Overview

What items do you work on?

As a Paper Conservator I work primarily on anything that is paper, prints, drawings, watercolours, gouache, collage, posters, photographs, letters and the like. But treatments can also be carried out on parchment/vellum and in the case of miniature paintings, on ivory. Please contact me or better still email a photo of your object and I will soon be able to help or point you in the right direction.

What is a work of art on paper?

A work of art on paper includes prints, drawings, watercolours, gouache, posters etc. Photographs can also be considered as works of art. Letters and manuscripts are known as archival material and I can also carry out conservation of archival material as well.

How will I know if my object needs treating? Also, why should I get it treated?

Tears, foxing and discolouration are all common problems that you may notice and that I am able to treat. Sometimes treatment is cosmetic, visually improving an artwork but most of the time treatment will also help to prevent or slow down deterioration. Take a look at my CONSERVATION SERVICES page which shows some of these common issues. Cleaning, repairing and placing an object in conservation framing or materials will help to preserve it. A well looked after object will be more likely cherished.

How will I know if my object is actually on paper?

If you are unsure please contact me and I will be able to help.

Do you do work for large institutions or private clients?

Both. Since setting up my own studio I have worked for institutions such as Museums, Galleries, West Glamorgan Archives, The National Trust and collections held by the Welsh Guards. I have also worked for private individuals with one-off objects needing treatment to collectors who have become repeat customers.

Problems you solve

What kind of issues do you treat?

Some of the issues I can treat can be found on the CONSERVATION SERVICES page. These include dirt, stains, foxing, Sellotape, tears, mould, creases, folds, damage caused by bad framing among others. I enjoy a challenge, so contact me and I will be able to tell you if I can treat it!

Can you clean a watercolour?

Yes, but I will always test to see what I can do and what I cannot do. I can usually clean and/or wash a watercolour to remove dirt, stains or foxing.

Can you remove foxing from paper?

As with a watercolour, testing will need to be carried out but there is usually a way I can treat the foxing to reduce the staining that it causes. It is difficult to predict how successful treatment may be as there are many variables, but it is usually reduced enough to meet my clients satisfaction.

Can you remove Sellotape from my artwork?

Sellotapes do not age well, usually going yellow and brittle and it is best not to use them on any paper object you want to keep. Thankfully, the adhesive can be removed using solvents and the object re-repaired using conservation materials that will not discolour in the future and can be safely removed if need be.

My house has been flooded what can you do to fix my damaged artwork?

If you experience any spillages or flooding please get in touch as soon as possible. The quicker you seek help the better the outcome will be. Please take a look at my blog post ‘Emergency Recovery after a Disaster’ where I talk about a map that was brough to me for treatment after water was spilled on it.

Can you repair the tear in my document?

Yes, depending on what it is I usually use Japanese tissues (of various weights) and wheat starch paste or another reversible glue (adhesive). The specialist adhesives I use will not discolour and cause damage to the paper in the future.

Do you repair/rebind books?

No. But I can recommend someone who can, or you can look at The Conservation Register and find one near you.

My artwork is faded, can you paint it in again?

No. I’m afraid in most cases this is not to be desired or ethical. I can recommend UV filtering glazing to protect your artwork from fading.

Do you conserve parchment or vellum?

Yes, I can help you with parchment or vellum that needs unfolding or repairing. I have also framed parchment documents.

Do you repair posters?

Yes, I can in most cases wash and repair posters. Have a look at my blog post ‘Conserving a Poster’ for an in depth look at a poster treatment I carried out.

Do you conserve miniatures?

I have worked on several miniature paintings on ivory, vellum and paper. The frames may need specialist work carried out on them, but I work together with object and frame conservators who can assist with them.

Do you conserve archives?

I can conserve archival materials and advise on storage.

Can you remove creases from paper?

I can certainly reduce creases and folds in paper and sometimes remove them completely. Have a look on my social media channels for examples or take a look at my blog post ‘Creases, Folds, dents and Seagulls’.

Do you do surveys of collections?

I am happy to carry out a survey of your collection and make recommendations for remedial conservation requirements and advise on storage.

Can you advise me on storage of my collection?

Yes, I have worked on several projects looking at how collections have been stored recommending the materials to use to improve the storage and to look at the environmental conditions of storage areas. My previous work experience includes consulting on this in the UK and internationally.

Can you “condition report” exhibitions?

Yes, I have condition reported for many institutions on incoming loans and whole exhibitions.

Initial Contact

How do I get in contact?

Please telephone me, email or contact me by social media. Details can be found at the top of this page or on the CONTACT page.

How do I get a quote?

If you send me a photo and the dimensions of an object and a brief outline of what you would like carried out, I will be able to make recommendations and give you an estimate. I will usually give a range of hours I think the work will take. If you wish to pursue with treatment I will then examine your object in person and give you a fixed written quote.

Do I need to send it to you to get a quote?

Please see above. I can give an estimate having seen a photo and a brief description – a fixed quote in writing can be drawn up after examining an object.

What will my quote entail?

Having examined your object, which will also mean unframing it if necessary, I will take photographs and draw up a fixed written quote. Sometimes unexpected things may be found during treatment and a quote may need to be revised but the client will always be contacted and advised – this is extremely rare and I can usually foresee this possibility on first examining an item.

Getting It Done

How much do you charge?

£45.00 per hour plus materials. As an example, an average sized watercolour may take between 6-8 hours. A contract rate is available for large projects over 25 hours.

What are your payment terms?

Payment (by bank transfer) is payable on completion of the work. Occasionally I may ask for payment of materials in advance, but this is usually on very large projects where materials may be a significant proportion of the project.

How will I know what has been carried out to my object?

When I have completed work on your object I will also give you an invoice and a written treatment report outlining the treatment I have carried out and all the materials I have used (part of being an ICON accredited conservator/restorer). This should be kept with the object as part of its history.

How do I physically send my work of art to you?

Please make an appointment to bring your object to my studio in Barry, South Wales. Alternatively I can organise trained art handlers to deliver but this is at the expense of the client. Clients have also posted items to me as recorded delivery. Please contact me for my address and to let me know when to expect your object/s.

Is my artwork insured when it is with you?

Yes, I am insured for professional liability, but the client remains responsible for the risk of loss (this usually comes under a clients home insurance cover). My insurance may need to be increased for high value items. For off-site work I also have public liability cover of £5million.

Do you carry out framing?

Yes. I can re-fit artwork, cut new conservation/museum mounts and adapt existing frames if needed. I also work with a number of framers and frame conservators and can organise new frames, mounting and fitting

Do you work off-site?

I am able to work in your institution for practical treatments or surveys where necessary.

Tech Questions

How do I stop my artwork from fading?

As light is the main cause of fading keeping you items in the dark is the best way to prevent fading. However if you want to enjoy your artwork displayed on the wall the best way to reduce fading is to use UV filtering glazing and keep out of direct sun. I can guide you through your glazing options and provide quotes.

How do I look after my old photographs?

Everyone has photographs that they want to preserve. The way that they are stored or framed has a massive impact on their preservation. I can advise on suitable storage materials and steer you in the right direction on where to purchase them. If you have any questions please contact me.

What is conservation framing?

Conservation framing is all about how an object is presented within a frame and doing it in such a way as to not cause damage and protect it from damage in the future. There are many different techniques to choose from when fitting an item within a frame and all of the techniques that I utilse are chosen based on the object and how it is to be displayed and how clients want them to be viewed. I use materials that will not discolour or cause damage to paper, they provide the support that is required and show the object in the best way. From the glazing to the mountboard everything I use has been tested and is of the highest quality demanded by leading Museums and Galleries. Whether you are re-fitting an artwork in a contemporary original frame or wanting an artwork newly framed, conservation framing is the “Gold standard” and is what I can provide.

Is it worth getting my work of art conserved?

This is your decision, sometimes it is not just about the monetary value of an artwork and sentimental value is just as if not more important. If an object is worth keeping it is worth treating in the best possible way and that best way is conservation treatment. Conservation treatment is based on the idea of reversibility and of doing no harm. Conservation treatments will not cause damage and do not rule out the opportunity of future treatment should it be needed.

Miscellaneous

Why are conservation materials so expensive?

The best quality materials are always more costly. Conservation materials are usually very pure, they are made under very tight quality controls and have excellent aging qualities. I’m afraid this does come at a cost, but I will always keep in mind your budget and in most cases I will be able to give you options from which you can choose.

Do you do valuations or authenticate works of art?

I am happy to share knowledge and give my opinion but I am not able to give a formal valuation or authentication. Valuations are best given by auction houses.

Are you available to give a talk to our local art or history society/group/wine club?

Of course! I have given talks professionally to conservation colleagues and to interested groups such as WI and local art/history groups. Please contact me to discuss. While I do not have a standard charge, contributions are most welcome for my time.