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Framing Standards

Updated: Sep 26, 2023

Four Levels of Framing - the Fine Art Trade Guild Framing Standards

The Fine Art Trade Guild categorises four levels of framing, level one being the highest and level four the lowest. At Tracery Prints & Framing we frame predominantly at levels two and three, occasionally to level one and never to level four. The standard of craftsmanship will be high regardless of the level to which the piece is being framed. Frames will be structurally sound, free from unsightly blemishes and safely supported. Our framing uses level three as an absolute minimum but often use conservation mount board and conservation framing techniques from Level 2. This is to try to achieve a good balance between keeping costs to a minimum and achieving the best possible protection of the artwork. All artwork, at whatever level it is framed, should be examined every five years to check on the condition of the materials.


More details about the framing levels are given below. More information about specific materials and techniques used in a specific print can be supplied on request.


LEVEL 1 (Ultimate level)


Ultimate protection using conservation methods and the best quality conservation materials.

Level 1 (Ultimate level) framing is the Guild’s highest level, so this framing solution will preserve and protect artwork for future generations and significant protection from physical and mechanical damage, airborne pollution and acids emanating from framing materials. Assuming the framed artwork is kept within the Guild’s normal conditions, (that is, out of direct sunlight, within the temperature range 10°C - 25°C and relative humidity between 40% and 60%) this level of protection should last for in excess of 35 years. This is also assuming that the artwork is not damaged, inherently unstable, foxed, stained or stuck down onto acidic board. The framer or a conservator should inspect frames every five years and there should be a label advising this on the back of the frame. The time involved in this level of framing and the cost of the materials involved make this the most expensive and is predominantly used by museums and for those works of art that are to be best preserved for the future.


LEVEL 2 (High level)

High level protection using conservation methods and conservation materials.


The aim at this level is to visually enhance the artwork and provide a high level of protection from physical and mechanical damage, airborne pollution and acids emanating from framing materials. Assuming the framed artwork is kept within the Guild’s normal conditions (see above), this level of protection should last for in excess of 20 years. This is also assuming that the artwork is not inherently unstable, damaged, foxed, stained or stuck down onto acidic board. Ideally the framer or a conservator should inspect frames every five years and there should be a label advising this on the back of the frame.


LEVEL 3 (Mid level)


Mid level protection using good quality materials and methods.


Level 3 (Mid level) framing is the Guild’s third highest level, resulting in a framing solution that serves two purposes: to visually enhance the artwork, and to provide a moderate level of protection. Framers should make every effort to use the best possible techniques, materials and procedures (which may be the same as those used at Level 2 (High level) & Level 1 (Ultimate level)). Ideally, GCF framers should view this level as a minimum standard, and should work to Level 2 (High level) where possible.



LEVEL 4 (Low level)

Low level protection using basic materials and/or methods. We do not frame anything at this level as the sole objective is to provide a visually acceptable frame at a budget price. No pretence is made to protect the artwork or its long-term visual appearance or quality of the frame.







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