City Art Reader 30: The new normal

24th Apr 2020

As we near the end of over four weeks of Level 4 lockdown we hope everyone is acclimatising to a very different way of living. From Tuesday 28 April City Art Depot staff will be back in action, doing all we can to preserve the health and safety of our staff and clients while offering our range of art care services. The gallery will remain closed to customers but we will be available Monday to Friday, 9am–4pm, to respond to online sales queries, complete frames, sell artwork and take in new work within public health guidelines.

Completed framing jobs will be able to be picked up on a contactless basis from our parking bay. We will contact you when the job is complete and, once payment has been made (by card over the phone or through direct bank deposit), arrange a time convenient for you to pick up your artwork. This way we can avoid congestion or any delays – with the back gates open we can even offer drive-through pick ups! If this is inconvenient we are offering a free delivery service within Christchurch.

City Art Depot will be able to install art works in your home following strict health and safety measures – staff will travel in separate vehicles and wear protective gloves and masks and will ensure all social distancing requirements are followed.

While the exhibition programme is temporarily on hold we are still able to sell and deliver art works from our gallery and stockroom – please browse our online walls here.

We can also make gesso panels, Solander boxes and artists’ stretchers to order and deliver these to your homes.

We are also taking in new framing orders – this can be done on a contactless basis with decisions about the frame, glass and matt board made over the phone or by email. We can collect artworks for framing from your home or you can drop them off in our collection area. As the longest running picture framing workshop under continuous ownership in the city, we have a wealth of experience to help guide your framing solution. Our thanks go out to those who continue to support our workshop during this time.

In our last Reader we invited artists and art collectors to describe the favourite work on their walls. This proved very popular and we will be repeating this. In the meantime, this is an excellent opportunity to give your own collection a health and safety once-over.

To clean the glass on your framed work, remove the artwork from the wall, lie it on a flat surface, apply the cleaner to a clean dry cloth – not directly to the glass – and wipe till clear. This will avoid cleaners seeping in under the frame. Please note, for museum glass avoid cleaners with ammonia.

Example of the clarity that can be achieved with museum grade glass, here seen on ‘Black and White Lightening’, 2008 (detail) by Tony de Lautour which we framed for a client

Avoid hanging artworks, particularly works on paper, in direct sunlight – this can cause colour loss and degradation of the paper.

If your artwork is in a sunny spot, or if all you see is your own reflection when you stop to admire your work, talk to our staff about different glazing alternatives, including reflection-limiting and UV filtering glass.

Example of an acidic matt board

At City Art Depot we use matt boards made from 100% non-acidic cotton. Older and cheaper matt boards have a core which can leach acid into the backings and the artwork itself – giveaway signs of this type of matt board include a darkening yellow core in the matt board and foxing (yellowish spots on the matt board or artwork). Where possible, it is advisable to replace such matts with archival matt boards. Feel free to send a photo of your artwork through to City Art Depot if you want some advice on the health of your matted work.

Check too the surface of the frames themselves – City Art Depot staff are trained in the repair of gilded frames and black and white lacquer frames.

City Art Depot staff member Alyse hand gilding one of our custom made frames

Another precautionary step for the longevity of your artwork is to ensure the glass is not hard up against the surface of the artwork – this can result in moisture build up that can damage the work. Again, feel free to call our staff to discuss options for inserting fillets to space the art work away from the glass.

From Tuesday 28 April City Art Depot staff will be on hand to take queries by phone between the hours of 9 and 4 Monday to Friday or email us on

Kia kaha from this side of the round window –
The City Art Depot team