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