Family Portrait Damage in Shipping: Disaster with liquid detergent
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Family Portrait Damage in Shipping: Disaster with liquid detergent



Treasured Family portraits damaged during shipping. Can they be cleaned? Can the frames be fixed? Helpful info and tips for shipping damage of collectibles and memorabilia.

Treasured Family portraits damaged during shipping. Can they be cleaned? Can the frames be fixed? Helpful info and tips for shipping damage of collectibles and memorabilia.



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Family Portrait Damage in Shipping: Disaster with liquid detergent Document Transcript

  • 1. Family Portrait Damage in Shipping: Disaster with liquid detergent By Arianna Spiller, FACL Intern When the wife packed up her family portraits and collectibles for their move across country, she thought she had done a good job. Her company was moving them and though they packed up the rest of the house, she was uneasy about letting them handle her treasured items. Some of these heirlooms were the portraits done by her father when she was a teenager, which happened to be some of the only keepsakes she had of him. Despite her care in packing, however, she was unable to control where these items were placed, and how they were placed, inside of the moving truck. During the shipping an open box containing liquid detergent overturned and poured into the package of two paintings and their frames. Opening up the box containing such treasures family items only to see that they had been doused in green goo was undoubtedly devastating. In fact, she was so upset, she couldn’t stand to see them and did nothing! After this incident happened the owner let some time elapse. Also in her upset state of mind, she had never thought to check with the fine art insurance of the shipper or the insurance company of her new employer to cover the
  • 2. $6000 worth of damage done to the two paintings and the two frames. Unfortunately, eventually in order to keep these treasures, she had to pay for a mistake that was not necessarily her fault. Luckily, the paintings themselves had a good, strong layer of varnish over the paint. This helped prevent the detergent and paint from interacting which would have made it almost impossible to clean the paintings of the detergent without disturbing the paint. After FACL cleaned the paintings, they were re-varnished. FACL was able to restore the paintings back to their “pre-existing condition” without significant damage. The frames, however, were not as lucky. The finishes on them did not allow for the removal of the detergents and stains. Therefore, in order to restore the frames and bring them back to “pre-existing condition” they will have to be re-finished. The shipping damage of heirlooms can be prevented entirely if the proper precautions are taken in the first place. When moving an heirloom, or anything you would like to protect, always make sure it is properly sealed and protected from any outside source. Some of the common problems FACL sees in shipping damage is dirt and dust getting on the items, water damage (and other liquids) and, of course, damage from getting banged around (impact damage). Always get proper instruction for wrapping and packing heirlooms. However, when moving collectibles along with other objects that could potentially damage it, sealing is only part of the work. The proper placement of a valuable when moving is important. Take precaution to not let any other potentially dangerous items spill, bump or fall on your valuables. This involves placing a protective
  • 3. barrier around the item, and not surrounding it with objects that could possibly hurt or damage it. If you are ever faced with a situation such as this one, where collectibles or heirlooms have been ruined or are in need of fixing, the internet is a great place to do research, find some help and do your due diligence. After searching the internet and reading blogs and watching YouTube videos, she called Fine Art Conservation Laboratories, hoping that FACL could restore them back to their “pre-existing condition” (an important insurance term). Scott Haskins, head of conservation paid the owners a visit at their home and inspected the items at no charge. After outlining the options and costs, the owner made her decision and FACL picked up the two framed painting and will personally deliver them back when the work is completed Did you like this article? Please leave a comment! To learn more about what you can do at home to take care of your stuff, download now a copy of Scott Haskins’ book, How To Save Your Stuff From A Disaster at 50% off! CLICK HERE to know more: For a news article featuring Scott M. Haskins’, Click here: life-section-of-newspaper/ For art conservation and painting restoration questions call Scott M. Haskins 805 564 3438 or For art appraisal questions call Richard Holgate at 805 895 5121 or See short videos by Scott M. Haskins on art conservation related subjects at YouTube channel “Bestartdoc” See short do-it-yourself videos on collection care and emergency preparedness for art collectors, family history items, heirlooms, memorabilia at Youtube Channel “preservationcoach” Follow us on Facebook: Fine Art Conservation, Save Your Stuff, Scott M. Haskins Sign up in the side column with your e-mail address so you can be updated whenever I post a new article or video!