chartwell gallery

Quality Picture framing in Southend since 1977

Chartwell Gallery Conservation Framing 

 Established in 1977, the Chartwell Gallery offers a friendly professional in-house framing service by Brian Davis BA (hons) and Jane Kent.  We only use wood mouldings such as obeche, oak, beech, lime, ash, and pine with conservation quality materials, to ensure the maximum protection for our framing

Our Conservation Framing Service complies with The Fine Art Trade Guild Specification, including hinge mounting with Japanese Mulberry hinges onto conservation foamboard, and also a choice of specialist glass. The basic principle of conservation framing is that the method of framing must be reversible, without any damage to the artwork.  This means that items must not be stuck down on boards of any kind, and all materials within the framing package must be of conservation quality having a ph value of not less than 7, which is the neutral point on the ph scale.  The scale is logarithmic therefore the next step up on the alkaline side to 8 is ten times the value of 7.  Conservation materials will generally have ph values between 7 and about 8.5.

Of course we recognize that not everybody will require conservation framing, and so we also offer our standard framing which can include, if required, elements of conservation such as UV or low reflection glass, or drymounting onto foamboard in our  heated vacuum press.

framed fossil tile

Framing an Ammonite Fossil  Probably the oldest item I have framed so far. Notice the box of Conservation P90 tape which we use to seal the framing package before the final board is fitted to the back of the frame.

Protect with UV Glass

We offer 4 different types of glass from our standard high quality Float Glass to  UV Glass, Low Reflection Glass, and Museum Glass, which is a low reflection glass with UV protection.

Our Low Reflection Glass and Museum Glass ( low reflection with UV protection) are coated with a multi-layer interference coating (OIC) which is similar to the coating on a camera lens.  About 92% of light is transmitted through glass, the remaining 8% is reflected towards the viewer.  Low Reflection and Museum Glass only reflect about 1%, therefore they give a brighter image with minimal reflection.


using 't' pins to stretch an embroidery

Peacock Embroidery, Design & Copyright by Jayne Netley-Mayhew.
Embroidered by Mrs Sylvia Gibson

This embroidery was stretched onto a 5mm conservation foamboard using 'T' Pins along the grain of the fabric to get it perfectly square. The glass must not lie directly on top of the embroidery, therefore a black spacer was used under the rebate of the frame to give an air space of approximately 3mm.

framed cast iron sculpture

 A Cast Iron Sculpture Box Framed with Low Reflection Glass, and a plain Oak Frame


 Light Damage

Light damage is gradual, and irreversible.  Artwork or prints should never be exposed to direct sunlight from windows, especially early morning or evening when the sun is low in the sky and UV exposure is greatest.  Light enters rooms from windows and bounces from walls and ceilings. This indirect light is less damaging of course, but this exposure is often overlooked.  We use a UV Protection glass which has a filter that absorbs 99% of the damaging ultraviolet energy. Vulnerable items include fabrics, cross stitch, needlepoint, silks, watercolours, papyrus, and sports shirts with signatures.



 Method of Framing

The glass is sealed to the foamboard and window mounts, with a conservation white paper tape called Filmoplast P90. This sealed package prevents the intrusion of dust and small insects, and fits neatly into the frame rebate.

If necessary we sometimes use a small spacer placed under the rebate of the frame.  This gives a small air space between the artwork and the glass and allows any condensation which may form on the inside of the glass, due to sudden temperature changes, to gradually dissipate without affecting the artwork.  This method is very useful for embroideries.  A double mount will of course do the same job as a spacer, and gives about a 3mm air space.

Finally, a solid 3mm medium density board, or an archival corri-cor board is used as a final backing and sealed with gum paper tape, so essentially the frame is double sealed.  Felt pads are placed on the bottom corners of the frame to allow an air space between the picture back and the wall, which promotes air circulation.


ceramic tea cosy

                A Framed  Ceramic Tea Cosy

framed samurai sword

A Japanese Samurai Sword  - An original 19th Century Japanese Samurai Sword in a wall mounted display, with a hinged lid. The sword blade requires regular cleaning and oiling, therefore the sword needs to be easily removed from the display case This was achieved by hinging the front moulding and using magnetic connectors to keep the lid closed. The sword was wedged between wooden dowling, and a named inscription on glass was placed in the left bottom corner. The display case was lined with forest green suedette mountboard.


Mounting Prints and Artwork

 Our Conservation method of attaching prints and artwork on paper is to use gummed Mulberry paper T-hinges on a conservation mountboard or foamboard.   Only about 5mm of the hinge is actually fixed to the artwork.  This enables the hinge to break at the crosspiece of the hinge if the frame receives a violent shock, without tearing the artwork.  Two hinges are required for most items, placed about 3cm from the top corners. Paper should be able to expand and contract with the change of humidity therefore the paper should never be taped all around the edges as this restricts movement  causing cockling, the wavy undulation of the paper which is difficult to rectify.



 Encapsulation Method

Sometimes fragile items such as newspaper articles and old documents need to be supported on the conservation board.  This encapsulation method, often used by museums, works by placing the item between two sheets of polyester film held together with double sided tape, with a small air space so the work can breathe.

Letters and certificates are hinged on conservation board however when both sides are required to be shown the encapsulation method is used, the framing is sandwiched between two or more mounts and two sheets of glass, and then framed.

 Heavy items require a different method of support called a sink mount.  A Magazine/Book or Artwork rests within a supporting cradle of foamboard to the required depth of the object, and a mount is fixed on top of the package, which in turn is glazed and framed. 

framed washing line photo's of our framing

A Peg Line Frame - A peg line presentation showing photographs of some of our unusual framing.

limestone sculpture by rob conway

 Cotswold Limestone 'Puma' Sculpture by Rob Conway - size approx., 32x24cm. £260.00 from our Original Artwork Page



Watercolour Paintings on Paper

Watercolour paintings on paper should be hinged on to a conservation board, not stuck down. Often the paper is wavy in appearance but this is only the result of the water applied to the paper during the painting process and should be considered a natural consequence of the medium of watercolour. The technical term for this is cockling, and this is more pronounced on lighter rather than heavy weight  paper. The artwork can be pressed flat before framing but this only reduces and does not eliminate the cockling. Watercolours are almost exclusively window mounted with a double mount often employed to give extra space between the glass and the artwork. A wash line mount may be used to further enhance the artwork. The mount is hand drawn with an ink pen and then a very thin watercolour wash is applied between the lines.


Pastel Drawing

Artists often used light weight paper for pastel drawing which causes a problem for framers.  To dry mount the drawing in a vacuum press will flatten the pastel medium, so for Conservation Framing a hinging method is to be preferred.  Fixative spray is best avoided because it has the tendency to slightly darken the colours of the pastel.It is very important to use a double mount or spacer to provide an air space between the drawing and the glass. We leave a small space between the drawing and the bottom side of the mount to collect any particles of pastel that may detach from the drawing.



signed blackburn rovers football shirt

A Signed Blackburn Rovers Football Shirt suspended in a double sided glass frame.- The shirt is hanging on a special 3mm Perspex Hanger, and is suspended with nylon fishing line sown through the shirt and into a black spacer in the Frame.  This gives 45mm between the glass panels to allow the shirt to hang naturally.  Tru Vue Conservation Clear UV Glass was used on both sides of the frame to protect the signatures and shirt from fading.    




coldstream guards jacket

Coldstream Guards Jacket -  This large Coldstream Guards Jacket was box framed into a deep box, with a green suedette mountboard liner which gave a nice contrast to the red of the jacket. The jacket was padded with acid free tissue and sown with near invisible nylon through the liner at strategic points. A board shape was cut and painted for the neck space, and a plinth with an engraved inscription was placed under the jacket. UV Glass was used to protect the colours of the jacket and also the green of the liner. Low Reflection Glass with UV protection could have been used as an alternative to reduce relections.

This item was very heavy so special brackets were used on the back of the box frame which fitted directly onto heavy duty brass hooks securely Rawl Plugged to the wall!




 Photo-transference - A strange phenomenon called photo-transference can occur on framed items under certain conditions when the glass lies directly on top of the artwork or print.  An image of the art is permanently transferred to the inside of the glass.  The image disappears when the glass is washed, only to return when it dries.  Photo-transference is caused by a chemical and light interaction with inks and  paints together with the gases in the glass.  The solution is to replace the glass and use a mount or spacer.



a framed tribute to trevor bailey

A Framed Tribute to Trevor Bailey CBE - Hanging in the Westcliff-0n-Sea Cricket Pavilon at Chalkwell Park, Southend on Sea, this was commissioned for the Cricket Club.

multi aperture pentagon frame

Multi-aperture Pentagon Frame - One of our pentagon frames with a a collection of old wedding photo's. These are custom made in any frame,size. and mounting.

Multi-aperture framing 

 We offer a bespoke design service for any number of photographs within a frame.  Sometimes we use a slip frame around the apertures, which is a thin wooden moulding attached to the mount.  This is often a gold or silver and can be very effective on a light coloured or off-white mount.  We have our own pentagon wedding frames which are very different.  All photographs are usually dry mounted onto foamboard and the package is sealed in the frame with a conservation white tape to prevent the intrusion of dust and insects.


 Conservation Framing of Prints & Photographs

We sometimes drymount prints and photographs onto foamboard in a heated vacuum press. The result is a permanent bond, but the prints remain absolutely flat in the frame.  However this is not a conservation method and valuable prints, or potentially valuable items and, prints created by the artist such as silkscreen, and etching, should be hinged onto a Conservation Board.  Glass should not rest directly on these prints therefore mounts or a spacer should be used.


multi aperture framing
framed stellated polyhedron

A Polyhedron model, box framed. See other objects framed on the conservation 3-D Page

Cibachrome Photographs

Large super glossy cibachrome photographs present a difficulty as cotton gloves must be worn when handling to prevent finger marks which are impossible to remove.  Even your breath can cause damage to the sensitive surface.  We mount these directly onto a Perspex sheet and the static alone keeps these beautiful prints flat.  Of course mounts or spacers must be used to keep the glass well away from the print surface!   These photographs are very resilient to UV exposure so much so that they do not really require any special glass.  Also resilient to UV exposure are the relatively new high priced giclee prints which employ special ink jet pigment inks.  According to aging tests they should resist the effect of sunlight for maybe 150-200 years. Again no special glass is really needed except perhaps the low reflection type.

tower poppy no.4

One of the Tower of London poppies framed with a gold slip frame around the two apertures. UV Glass was used to protect the colour of the mounting and the certificate. Other examples of the Tower Poppies can be seen on our Conservation of 3-D Objects page.

framed tower poppy with coldstream guards figures

A Ceramic Tower Poppy with two Pewter Coldstream Guards Figures. Two hand painted pewter figures, Grenadier of the Coldstream Regiment Foot Guards, and a Guardsman, Coldstream Guards, 1980, lie on a shelf above the certificate certifying that this poppy is one of 888,247 made for the art installation at the Tower of London between the 5th of August and the 11th of November 2014.   Each Ceramic Poppy represents a British or Colonial military fatality during the First World War.
Tru Vue Conservation Clear UV Glass was chosen to give the maximum protection to the colour of the forest green suedette conservation mounting, the poppy and also the two figures. A pewter silver frame with a metallic appearance complements the Tower of London Photograph in the background.