Transporting fine art and antiques is challenging and comes with plenty of risks. If you are moving house, buying or selling a new piece, or showcasing your art, you need to ensure you minimise any risks of damage during transportation.
In this blog, we are going to share our tips on how to transport fine art safely.
Before your artwork is packed away and placed into a vehicle, take photographs of it and make notes of any scratches, blemishes or imperfections on each piece. This will be crucial if you come to make an insurance claim in the future.
Use The Right Packing Materials To Transport Fine Art
Some packaging materials can do more harm than good, especially if not used correctly. When transporting fine art, it is important that you are using the correct packaging materials, including:
- Bubble wrap
- Brown acid-free paper
- White linen and soft cotton fabrics
- Sturdy boxes
- Shredded paper
- Strong, durable packing tape
- Labelled tape i.e. Fragile
Although these materials are commonly used when transporting fine art and antiques, it is easy to use them incorrectly.
For example, if bubble wrap is applied directly to oil paintings or pastel drawings, it can cause damage. Instead, a thin layer of acid-free paper or tissue paper should be applied before the bubble wrap.
Similarly, if stained wood is wrapped in bubble wrap and then travels in hot or humid conditions, the wood finish may end up damaged.
Damage can also occur if you don’t use the correct boxes. Standard packing cardboard boxes aren’t suitable for transporting fine art or antiques. Instead, heavy-duty boxes of double-wall construction, with plenty of space for the item, are the safest bet.
And The Right Vehicle
Aside from using the correct materials, it is also important to use a suitable vehicle. Art and antiques should never be placed in a vehicle where they can move around or come into contact with hard surfaces. Plus, they should never (ever) be stacked, even if it will save room! Ideally, artwork should be placed on suitably sized crates.
Getting your fine art from A to B safely is much easier if it has been correctly packaged. There is a method to correctly packing fine art and antiques. Here are our tips:
- Gently clean and dust any items before packing and transporting them.
- Place a lightweight cloth sheet or layer of acid-free paper around the artwork before wrapping it in bubble wrap.
- Mount unframed artwork onto cardboard to avoid damage. This can be done by folding four pieces of acid-free paper into triangles with one side left open, and slotting the triangles onto the four corners of the art before taping the paper corners onto a piece of sturdy cardboard.
- When transporting art or antiques, always use sturdy boxes that leave 3 inches of space around the piece of art and pack all space with packing material to minimise movement
- Always wrap sculptures with bubble wrap and tape before placing them in a box.
- Lay a piece of soft foam on the bottom of a box before placing artwork on top of it.
- Reinforce the bottoms and corners of boxes with tape after sealing.
- Label every piece meticulously.
- Avoid stacking at all times and use shipping labels with designations like ‘Do Not Stack’ to ensure other people do not accidentally stack the artwork.
Don’t Forget Insurance
Insurance is particularly important if you are transporting something of great value or significance. Or if the piece of art is fragile. Insurance provides cover against a range of factors including damage, theft and losses – whilst giving you peace of mind.
Seek Help From Fine Art Transportation Experts
Even after following expert advice, problems can still occur when transporting fine art. That’s why, in most cases, it is wise to solicit the help of a fine art transportation specialist. This way, you have peace of mind that your fine art is transported safely by professionals.
At Aardvark Art Services, we transport fine art and antiques nationwide. Our regular customers include artists, collectors, auctioneers, galleries and museums. Our team members are fully trained in the art of packing, handling and transporting fine art and antiques. They understand that each piece of art is unique, priceless and often delicate.
Your art will be transported in a custom-built, temperature-controlled unmarked vehicle that has satellite tracking and communications. Whether you have a huge sculpture or a tiny canvas, we can offer a custom packaging and transportation solution for you.
Better yet, we can even organise insurance cover for you.