These pictures show what years of dusting avoidance results in… thick carpets of proteinaceous matter mixed with pollutants, toxins and assorted fibres and particles of… well, best not think about it.
- dust can chemically bond to surfaces e.g.- gilded frames making it difficult/impossible to remove – see close up of frame- below left.
- permeate the canvas, allowing pollutants to absorb into the structure of the painting
- accelerate the ageing process
- attract insects
- encourage mould growth
Overly zealous or too frequent dusting of gilded frames can lead to abrasion of the gilding and possible loss of loose composition detail. Annual or bi-annual dusting with a soft brush only [never, ever a yellow duster or any fibrous cloth that could catch and remove loose mouldings!!] should be sufficient to to keep frames looking good.
Oh, and never spray glass cleaner near an historic frame – the old fashioned method of newspaper dampened with water and vinegar is best. Or better still, call a conservator [such as myself] to do it!
The top image shows me dusting’ The Princes in the Tower’ by Sir John Everett Millais at Royal Holloway Picture Gallery, University of London.