• Gallery Hours: Tuesday to Friday 12 noon - 6 pm, Satuday 12 - 3 pm •

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Benfield Gallery offers a wide selection of fine original paintings, bronze sculpture, original graphics and custom framing. Other gallery services include gift certificates, portrait commissions, cleaning and restoration as well as art consultation services for your home or office.

The gallery offers conservation framing for original paintings, diplomas, antique prints, photographs, golf balls, papyrus, and needlework to name just a few...

Custom Framing

What is Conservation Framing?


Protecting your Art

Care of Pastels

Custom Framing

Good custom framing starts with proper materials and good design. We have experienced staff who have designed framing for over 30 years. We recommend selecting colors and styles that enhance, but do not overpower. Creativity is the fun part! Come enjoy the process of framing a treasure you wish to preserve. We have framed the typical to the unusual: many paintings, diplomas, and posters plus some unique items like a hole-in-one golf ball, christening dresses, sports jerseys, papyrus and even a violin. Check out our Instagram page to see some cool frame designs!

What is Conservation Framing?

The goal for conservation/preservation framing is to use materials and techniques that will protect and preserve the item as closely as possible to its original condition. Below is a brief discussion of materials and techniques.


Paper art generally is enhanced and protected with a mat border. A mat border provides the separation needed to prevent glass from coming into direct contact with the art. Another option is a spacer that would raise the glass above the art. The problem with glass contact is that the inks, paint or even the paper fibers can adhere to the glass damaging the art.

Conservation matboard is available in different levels of quality. The best matting is called “rag”, made from 100% cotton linters. Matboard buffered to the alkaline side of the scale is also considered conservation.

If you have noticed mats with burnt yellow bevels, usually framed years ago, the mats are likely ‘regular’ pulp matboard. The yellowing is acid 'burning' the matboard and anything near it. The yellowing not only stains but causes the matboard and art to become brittle and deteriorate. Just as the matboard on the top should be acid-free, so should the support board behind the art.

Paper art needs the protection of glass to prevent dust, pollution and insects from soiling and damaging the art. Some glazing offers protection from the color-fading effects of sunlight and florescent lights. No glass offers full protection from UV; the best protection is to hang art in areas of lower light.

The variety of glazing materials now available can be overwhelming. While regular glass offers 45% ultraviolet ray protection, conservation glass offers 97% protection. Regular nonglare glass does not provide UV protection, you must specify conservation nonglare.

Protecting Your Art

Once it has been properly framed, where it is hung in your home or office can either preserve or hasten deterioration of the piece.

1) Keep out of direct contact with sunlight.

2) Moderation and stability in both humidity levels and temperature are good. Extreme fluctuations that occur in attics and basements are harmful.

3) An outside wall has more humidity than an inside wall. A fireplace has the most fluctuation especially if it is in use. If you have art over a fireplace, provide some space for air flow behind the painting by cutting a cork in half and placing it behind the two bottom corners.

4) Hang your art using two picture hangers. Not only does it secure the art more safely, but it will stay more level on the wall.

Care and Framing of Pastels

Pastel paintings should be handled with special care. 

Artists who work in pastel and charcoal may spray the art with a fixative.  Many artists choose not to do so because the spray darkens the pastel colors and disturbs the texture of the pastel strokes as the droplets splatter the pastel.  Do not spray the art without direct permission from the artist. 

AVOID TOUCHING the SURFACE of the artwork.  If you must lay some protective covering over the pastel for transporting, use wax paper, affixing it so it will not slide around damaging the art.  It is better if you can lift the protective covering with spacers/risers along the outside edges so it does not touch the art at all.  The framer should not lay a ruler or mat or frame samples on top of the pastel.  Handle pastel paintings extremely gently if/when working face side down.  When securing the painting into frame, lean painting vertically so loose pastel dust will not fall on glass.

Frame in the following layers, from top to bottom:

1)    Use a frame moulding  deep enough to support the layers of materials selected.

2)    Use UV filtering glass.  Do not use plexiglass or acrylic sheeting as the static electricity will draw pastel dust to itself.  The glass should not touch the pastel.

3)    We recommend all mats used on pastels be acid-free and cut with reverse bevels; the latter prevents pastel dust from showing on the beveled edges. The mat helps to lift the glass above the pastel.

4)    An acid-free foam board spacer may be used as an optional way to create space into which pastel dust can fall (or as a design preference).

5)    The original pastel painting - which has been carefully mounted by hinges or corners mounts to an acid free backing board.

6)    The acid-free protective backing board and then the dustcover – usually a brown or black kraft paper to help seal out dust and insects.

7)     Do not use hammer-in style bumpers on the back of the frame as their application can cause vibrations that could shake loose some pastel dust.

8)    When transporting your newly framed pastel or charcoal, rest it on its back so driving vibrations will not cause pastel dust to be loosened.

Benfield Gallery / Artists / Custom Framing / Prints / Education / Special Services / Facebook / Instagram

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485 Jumpers Hole Road, Severna Park, MD 21146 • 410 - 544 - 2299
Gallery Hours: Tuesday - Friday 12-6 pm, Saturday 12-3 pm • art@benfieldgallery.com