Conservation Framing

What is Conservation Framing?  Conservation or archival framing is the process of framing an artwork or piece of memorabilia with the primary consideration being the protection and preservation of the work in as close to it’s original (or current) condition as possible whilst also seeking to present the work in a decorative manner.

It differs from ‘custom framing’ or ‘regular framing’ in that the primary objective is preservation not presentation – whereas custom framing places design and presentation first. Conservation Framing should maintain the value of your artwork over the long term and the presentation of the piece whilst important is the secondary concern. 

Mr Brainwash by Lichtenline – Hinged to acid free substrate, floated on white conservation mat, acid free waterproof backing, museum glass

Unfortunately Conservation Framing is a widely misused term both by framers and their customers – Often Conservation Framing is used to indicate that the products used in the framing process are ‘Acid Free’  – whilst acid free products are an essential component of conservation framing their use does not by itself constitute conservation framing. It is entirely possible and quite normal to have a work Custom Framed using only acid free materials but important to understand that this may or may not maintain the value of your piece over the long term. 

It is important to understand the differences between Custom Framing using Acid Free materials and Conservation Framing: Glue for example is acid free and many framers will happily cover the back of your artwork in glue and stick to an acid free substrate and call the process conservation framing – This has immediately negatively impacted the value of the artwork.

Acid Free Mat boards or mount boards are made of wood pulp that has been treated to neutralize the acid present in the pulp however they still contain a host of other impurities and chemicals that will affect your artwork negatively over time.          

 So How are Conservation Framing Techniques Different? 

Simply put, the difference is in the way artwork is mounted and the materials used in the mounting, framing and glazing process.

conservation memorabilia framing

Official Coatee of the Royal Household c1800, mounted and framed to conservation standard, oversize conservation mats and backing, conservation acrylic

We never cut corners or use inferior materials and our stringent quality controls on materials and workmanship mean you can have complete peace of mind that your treasures are receiving the very best care and attention and will be conserved in their current state and their value maintained for the long term. 


What does it cost to frame a picture?
The price for a custom frame really depends on a number of different things, such as what style of framing you might like, what size you wanted to make it, what type of matboards you may want, and even what type of glass you might want. The choices and combinations are virtually limitless. We have also found that 99% of customers do not select what they originally thought would work. Most people find they can get a better idea of what they want when they bring it in. After that, we can work out some different options and prices for you to compare, so please bring your piece in for a free quote.

Why Choose Highly Strung? 

Effective Conservation framing calls for the combination of expert craftsmanship and the use of the most up to date conservation products to offer the best protection for your valuable work – If you collect art, have works that are valuable to you either sentimentally or financially do not leave your conservation framing to chance or rely on high street framers who cannot claim accreditation.

Many of our customers bring or send their artwork to us from all over the country, we serve many collectors and galleries in Brisbane and Sydney and we are always more than happy to design framing solutions on their behalf and send images for approval and then pack and freight the finished pieces to their address. Nothing is too much trouble and our prices are always competitive. 


Galleria By Larson Juhl – Fine Hand Made Picture Frame Mouldings, click here to view the range

Materials used include:

  • Museum grade Glass and Perspex offering incredible clarity and 99% UV protection
  • Museum Quality Mats Boards or ‘Rag Mats’ – 100% virgin cotton rag and backing Acid and Lignin Free, buffered with calcium carbonate, bleed and fade resistant  that meet all international standards for conservation mat board.
  • Inert & Acid Free backing boards – PH between 7.5 and 8.5, Kappa rating between 1.8 and 3 and Alkaline reserve 12%
  • Conservation Art Tapes and hinging materials – Highly Strung uses a range of conservation grade art tapes and hinging products and can discuss the most suitable products for your work.
  •  Conservation Framing techniques are used by museums and Galleries throughout the world to offer the best possible protection and care for valuable and or delicate works of art.
Conservation Framing

David Bromley on Arches Paper – Hinge mounted to Inert substrate, triple conservation mats, conservation acrylic, waterproof and acid free backing

As you might expect conservation framing is not the cheapest way to frame a work of art and may not be suited to every framing project. Where design and presentation are of paramount importance or the piece does not carry significant value, customers may elect for a Custom Framing solution using acid free materials

Whatever solution you choose it is advisable to have your valued works inspected every 3-5 years for signs of mould or foxing to mitigate the chances of any permanent damage.

Highly Strung is pleased to offer an inspection service, please contact us to discuss your needs.


Click here to see a presentation on conservation 


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