Congratulations – you found a great piece at a yard sale! You got it home, looked it up, and it’s valuable! Now it’s time to take a close look at the framing. There’s no doubt that vintage frames are very cool and have years of wear that gives them charm. However, chances are the glass is non-conservation, the mats and backing are acidic, and the mounting could probably use some attention.
Here’s a lovely pair of photographs by Charles R Higgins Studios of Bath, Maine done somewhere in the 1930’s. They look lovely, but take a close look at the mat bevel – it’s yellowed which is a sure sign it’s acidic. :
After opening the frame package, it was determined that the mat and back was acidic, and the piece had been mounted with scotch tape:
At this point, the decision should be made whether to have the piece itself conserved, repaired and deacidified. With this photography, the decision was made to just freshen the framing package and not to get a conservator involved. Here’s the piece in a new archival book mat mounted with corner pockets:
Here’s the completed piece. Note the blue French lines were added in keeping with the original style of the piece. Now this piece is protected from UV light with Museum glass (99% UV blocking) and is properly mounted and housed in an acid-free environment: