Framed art in a gallery

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Taking care of your art collection

Whether you’re a first-time buyer or long-time collector, it’s important to take good care of the art you own

Understanding what steps to take will not only help you preserve the monetary and historical value the piece might have – both now and in the future – but will also ensure that you and your loved ones can maximise your enjoyment of the collection for as long as possible.

There are three key areas to consider when it comes to taking care of your art and collectibles. 

1. Pick the right location

Where you showcase your pieces or store those that aren’t on display is often the first thing to think about when owning fine art and collectibles. The following rules should be applied when deciding where to keep your art: 

For paintings:

  • Don’t hang them in direct sunlight or under harsh indoor lighting. This will help you avoid colour bleaching or intricate detail fading
  • Don’t hang art above a radiator or fireplace as heat, soot and dust can all cause lasting damage
  • Aim for a gap between your paintings and the wall to minimise accumulations of dirt and moisture behind them (a small block in the corners on the back of the frame can achieve this).

For vases and figurines:

  • Try to keep these in a display cabinet or on a shelf out of the path of general house traffic, pets or small children – clumsiness can be costly
  • Make sure shelves and cabinets are strong enough to hold the weight of any heavy pieces
  • Keep intricate items within a display cabinet away from harsh light to protect it from discolouration and excessive dust. 

If you do have to store your art away for any length of time, it is best to do so in a warm and dry location. Basements or lofts aren’t advisable for long-term storage as both are susceptible to changes in temperature and humidity across the year and can leave your items exposed to potential damage. Try to keep your items off the floor to avoid any moisture absorption from the ground.  

 2. Keeping it clean

Here are some general rules of thumb to follow if the pieces in your collection are in need of some extra love and attention:

  • Clean off any dust on your paintings or ornaments with a soft bristled brush (a small artist’s brush or clean make up brush will do)
  • Avoid using feather or sheepskin dusters as the fibres can attach to the work
  • Generally speaking, never use any chemical cleaning products, sprays or polishes to clean the pieces in your collection. Glass vases and items such as Swarovski crystal can be carefully cleaned with a glass cleaner and light cloth
  • Clean dirty figurines in warm soapy water but cover any air holes with masking tape. This will limit water seeping into the piece and causing long-term damage
  • When cleaning with warm water, place bath towels in the sink before cleaning to protect against breakage if the piece is dropped
  • If you notice any frame damage or flaking paint on your paintings, seek the advice of a qualified, professional conservator or framer.

 3. Insure your art collection

Getting the right insurance for your fine art and collections is a top priority to safeguard your investment, regardless of its cost or value. 

We can help find a tailored insurance solution that best suits your art collection. NFU Mutual Bespoke Home Insurance cover has been specifically designed to cover high-value items, giving you peace of mind to enjoy your artwork. 

As well as getting the right insurance cover, take the time to document the condition of your collection and keep photographs, notes, dimensions, the method of framing, artist’s name and original bills of sale as all will prove useful should you need to make a claim.