Historical Renovation: Considerations for Art Collections

Historical renovation is known for bringing wonderful light into dark spaces, and new windows and doors that provide this light while keeping an interior environment comfortable are one of the greatest benefits that accrue to a home during a renovation. Homeowners and architects will consider the issues related to this increased light on art collections and textiles.

Historical Renovation: Considerations for Art Collections

Fine art collections depend on an interior that is environmentally controlled for temperature and humidity. New doors and windows can help provide this stable interior environment. In addition, however, the placement of artworks may need to be reassessed with the additional light. Paintings, especially  ones behind glass, such as works on paper, are especially vulnerable to the effects of direct sunlight. Paints, pigments, and other materials can fade rapidly in direct sunlight, and humidity can cause moisture to form inside the glass when direct light causes changes in temperature on the surface of the work. In addition, glues and other structural supports can become loose or fail with direct sunlight.

Some UV protection is part of the higher quality doors and windows, but artworks still need to be protected from direct sunlight.

Textiles, such as furniture, drapery, and wall coverings may also be affected by direct sunlight, and care should be taken in planning new window and door placement and treatments in order to protect valuable textiles from fading. UV protection built into the new doors and windows will help, but careful placement, and coverings during the brightest part of the day may still be necessary to protect furnishings.

The wonderful light that renovation with new doors and windows brings, when it is accompanied by excellent interior climate control, is one of the best reasons for careful historical renovation. Planning should involve placement of artworks and textiles to prevent direct sun exposure, which can cause fading and damage with long-term exposure.

Can we help you plan a renovation of a historic property? Please contact us for more information.