Antique watercolours

BADA is the leading trade association for the fine art, design and antiques community. Read our guide to caring for antique watercolours.

Hanging watercolours

Before hanging an antique watercolour it is important to select a suitable location.

Watercolours are highly susceptible to fading and problems caused by damp.

Never hang your watercolours near a heat source, such as a radiator or fireplace.

Paintings should be placed away from direct sunlight, which causes watercolours to bleach.

Never hang a watercolour on the interior of the outside wall of a building.

The low temperature can cause condensation and promote mould growth within the frame.

To prevent foxing avoid hanging or storing watercolours in damp areas, like basements or attics.


Restoring antique watercolours

Foxing is the brown staining which appears when watercolours have been exposed to high humidity.

The effect is generally caused by mould growing on acidic paper.

It can also occur when metallic particles from the papermaking process become embedded in the paper's fibres.

In some cases foxing can be eradicated by a professional conservator.

Antique watercoloursHowever, there is no remedy for fading in antique watercolours.

Traditional household solutions such as cleaning with breadcrumbs or repairing with adhesive tape will only cause further damage.

Framing advice

Poor quality framing and mounting are the primary causes of damage to works of art.

It is advisable to have your watercolours mounted on acid-free board, by a professional art restorer.

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

If in doubt, consult a BADA watercolour specialist who will be able to recommend an experienced framing professional.


To browse a selection of watercolour paintings click here

For dealers who specialise in watercolours click here

For advice on caring for antique Oil Paintings click here

For advice on caring for antique Drawings click here

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