Picture Framing and Art Preservation/antique reverse glass painting

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Question
My grandmother was recently cleaning out her storage room and gave me a beautiful antique reverse glass painting.  It isn't in the best condition, and the original back of the frame is missing.  Long story short, I am worried about the paint flecking off.  I was wondering if spraying the back of the painting with some kind of clear preservative might help it together.  Preservation is the name of the game; this painting has been in my family for almost a hundred years.

Answer
I'm not aware of any sort of sealant that could be used, and I would be very hesitant to recommend anything if I did. There's no way to predict how any given product could react with the paints without being tested first. Considering its age and what it means to you I wouldn't take any chances.

The best thing to do is to speak with a qualified professional conservator about it. He or she will be able to evaluate its condition, recommend a course of treatment and then carry it out. Once it's stabilized it can be put back in the frame and a new backing installed.

You can find a conservator in your area by going to the AIC website at http://www.conservation-us.org/ and then click on Find a Conservator on the right. If you can't find a referral in your area you could contact a local museum for a recommendation.  

Picture Framing and Art Preservation

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David Lantrip, MCPF, GCF

Expertise

I can answer questions about all aspects of framing, with special emphasis on preservation framing. Categories of artwork include works of art on paper, needlework, textiles, paintings on canvas and three-dimensional objects. Components of framing includes frames, glass/glazing, mats, mounting, their features and how to select them.

Experience

I have been a professional picture framer and educator in the field since 1994, including framing education for a major franchisor encompassing three brands and the Professional Picture Framers Association, and writing and teaching for DECOR Magazine.

Organizations
Professional Picture Framers Association (PPFA) > Board member, PPFA > Member, Certification Board > Member, Chapter relations Committee National Society, Sons of the American Revolution (NSSAR)

Publications
DECOR Magazine, 2005 - 2010 PPFA For Members Only newsletter Member of the PPFA Guidelines task force, assisted in writing PPFA Guidelines for Framing Works of Art on Paper and PPFA Guidelines for Framing Works of Art on Canvas, and PPFA Guidelines for Framing Textiles and Needlework. Picture Framing Magazine, 2012

Education/Credentials
Georgia State University, many classes as a student and educator through the Professional Picture Framers Association and DECOR Magazine. Current member of the PPFA guidelines task force and certification board.

Awards and Honors
Earned Certified Picture Framer (CPF) designation in 1996, Master Certified Picture Framer (MCPF) designation in 2004 and Guild Commended Framer (GCF) status in 2008.

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