Antique Drawings

Advice on caring for antique drawings from the British Antique Dealers' Association.

Damage prevention

Antique drawings in crayon, pastel, chalk and charcoal should be stabilised to prevent accidental smudging or crumbling if touched.

This is best carried out by an experienced picture restorer.

Contact your local BADA drawings specialist for a suitable recommendation.

Drawings on vellum

Vellum can absorb water from and release water to the atmosphere, dependent on changes in humidity.

As a result, vellum is susceptable to shrinking and can cause ink and paint to flake off.

If you experience either of these issues, seek advice from a specialist conservator.

Framing advice

In the case of framed antique drawings, the glass should be kept apart from the paper with the aid of an acid-free mount or a slip.

BADA recommend using Museum Board as a mount, which is made of 100% cotton fibre.

Ultraviolet filtering glass can also be fitted to reduce the risk of damage from exposure to UV light.

Antique Drawings
Hanging advice

Light causes irreversable damage to drawings so you should never hang them in direct sunlight.

Fluctuations in temperature and humidity can also have adverse effects on both the paper and the media.

Avoid hanging drawings above a radiator, working fireplace or any other heat source.

Storing antique drawings

Drawings should not be stored or hung in damp areas as brown discolouration known as ‘foxing’ may occur.

In some cases a specialist conservator may be able to reduce the effect of foxing, but in many cases the damage is irreversible.


For a list of dealers specialising in Drawings click here

To browse a selection of Drawings online click here

For advice on caring for antique Oil Paintings click here

For advice on caring for antique Watercolours click here

For BADA recommended specialists in packing and shipping antiques and fine art click here