by Tim Padfield and Annabel Robinson


The climate behind oil paintings on canvas, mounted in shallow recesses in the outer walls of the Baroque chapel of a country house, Ledreborg, near Roskilde in Denmark, is rather more stable and scarcely more humid than the climate in the room. The climate in the chapel is typical of a building which is seldom heated. The average relative humidity, about 70%, is higher than would be considered acceptable in a museum but is similar to the climate in many churches and historic houses in which paintings and woodwork survive in reasonable condition.

An experimental painting was protected with polyester foil stretched over the back of the stretcher. This provided an even more stable microclimate with a hygrometric half life of about a month. There is no real need for special protection of the paintings against damp but the screening is effective against large insects and nesting bats. If permanent heating were installed, the climate behind the pictures would be quite different, because of the permanent temperature difference that would be established between the painting and the wall surface behind it.

This digital version of the complete article (pdf 600Kb)was first published as: Tim Padfield and Annabel Robinson, 'The climate behind pictures mounted against the outer walls of the chapel of Ledreborg, Denmark', Preprints of the ICOM (International Council of Museums) Committee for Conservation, Edinburgh meeting, 1966 pp 72-75.


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