Different standards of Picture framing
We deal daily with different art works, posters and exotic items that need framing. Some of these are extremely valuable, some are very important, some are merely mementoes. We have different standards for framing these items – the more valuable need to be framed in a way that does not affect or damage the artwork permanently in any way. The mementoes do not need to be framed to such a high standard – they need to be framed to present them, with out resorting to the most technical and expensive framing solution.
There are different standards applied worldwide, but in South Africa, framers normally observe only three standards;
Commended Picture Framing Standard
This standard should visually enhance the artwork and give a moderate level of protection.
Replaceable artwork of limited commercial and/or moderate sentimental value and where visual appearance is important. Preferably processes should be reversible. Materials used will have limited life span and should be changed when necessary. Standard mounts with life span of three to five years before needing replacement.
Conservation Framing Standard – Often termed custom framing
This standard should visually enhance the artwork and offer a high level of protection.
Collectable artwork that is to be kept for future generations, such as original paintings and limited edition prints of moderate to high value, as well as items of sentimental value. Materials used should protect the artwork from the elements and environmental damage as much as possible. The tapes, backing boards and mountboards need to be acid free to limit damage from oxidation. The life span of these materials can be the same as used in the Commended framing standard, with a lifespan of up to five years. (Some believe the boards should last for 20 years, but experience has shown that this seldom happens in South African conditions.) The framing needs to be checked on by the customer after the first few years to identify whether oxidation has occurred in the mountings (The cut edge of the mounting changes colour to brown or orange.). These need to be changed the moment the oxidation is evident.
Museum Standard Picture Framing
This standard visually enhances the artwork and offers the highest level of protection for the Artwork.
Museum-quality works and artwork that is to be preserved for the future, including high value items and artwork of potential or historical value. Processes must be fully reversible. Materials used should protect the artwork from the elements and environmental damage as much as possible. The tapes, backing boards and mountboards need to be acid free to a Museum conservation standard. Mountboards need to be Museum quality, preferably 100% cotton pulp featuring top to bottom cotton fibre. These products should offer some protection from airborne pollutants and acids, as well as offering some from oxidizing gases and pre-acidic gases found in our environment. These materials are expected to last between 20 to 30 years.
These standards have been described in a fairly simplistic manner, but their application is far more technical and complex.