If you are an art-lover, you’ll know the importance of taking care of artwork to conserve it and keep it looking its best. Conservatories are a good place as any to show off your art, but there is greater risk of UV rays catching the artwork, causing your paintings and other artwork to fade.
Related: What is a Solaroof?
Fortunately, with a little effort, light is a variable over which you have a great deal of control. Whether that is with blinds or a Solaroof. An Anglian Home Improvements’ solaroof acts like a pair of sunglasses for the contents of a conservatory. It makes fading become less of a risk by keeping out the sun’s ultra-voilet rays. In fact, the roof system can block up to 98% of UV rays which gives you peace of mind that your artwork is a little more protected.
We spoke to Cambridge Artist, Diana Probst , who shared her tips on what artwork or art materials would be most suited to a conservatory and how to stop art fading in your conservatory. She writes about ways to create your own art that will thrive in a conservatory, but this knowledge can easily be applied to anything you buy, too.
‘Pigments can be put onto board, canvas or paper. Canvas and paper preserve well in atmospheres that don’t change much. I wouldn’t recommend putting a canvas in a conservatory due to how often the heat and humidity changes. The heat and humidity can cause the canvas to stretch and compress which can damage the paint over time.
‘Strong paper can last longer if mounted correctly. Although you should not use pastels. With acrylic and oil paint, you’d want to use a solid substrate for both of those. That is board or wood, rather than canvas or paper.
‘An important thing here is the lightfastness of the pigments used. UV light damages paintings. You’re going to get some damage, but it is just as likely to be to the substrate as it is the pigments.
Diana suggest framing your work behind anti UV glass to protect your artwork.
‘You can minimise damage by framing your work behind anti UV glass or using acrylic. You can also get anti-UV tints for windows. The good news is that UV light is mostly blocked by glass. Unfortunately, however, it is not all blocked.
‘Make sure you or your artist has used lightfast paints, if you choose 2D work, and maybe resign yourself to the work not getting old gracefully. Most modern pigments have good lightfastness, but check to be sure.
‘If you’re putting up 2D artwork, put it into a painted or wallpapered wall if you can.
‘If you hang a 2D work facing away from the sun, protect its back, do not put it directly in sun light. But either way you can get low-reflective glazing for it, letting you see it even when the room’s bright.’
Diana explained that sculpture usually works best in a conservatory.
‘3D art is harder to damage compared to 2D. It is usually sculptured. I recommend alabaster or other translucent stones in sculptures. It looks great but costs more than I earn in most quarters and shatters beautifully if your dog knocks over the table.
‘Sculpture can also include busts, antique fragments, bronze pots, ceramic work, the lot. So sculpture and clay would definitely work well in a conservatory.
‘Stained glass sits on the cusp of 2D and 3D and is, of course, designed to have light pass through it.
‘Designed mobiles and hanging items add colour without great expense. They are easy to build with an artist collabroator but it depends on your expectation of art.
‘Alternatively, laser cut acrylic can do just this, with rapid prototyping. This is a really interesting process, and you’ll end up with a thing to keep or give as a gift. ‘
‘In summary, sculpture or 3D surfaces like driftwood or ceramic vessels would work best. 2D work (unless by previous discussion with the artist) should be protected behind at least one layer of anti UV glass or acrylic, and should be made with lightfast pigments and good quality substrates. Don’t hang them in direct sunlight which, in a conservatory, is hard to avoid. Try to avoid 2D if you can. ‘