What is Foxing on prints?

Foxing on artwork 1

David Dancey-Wood uses only conservation materials

 

"David Dancey-Wood’s publishers, Hawksbill, only produce prints on the highest quality paper to help avoid foxing.

Hawksbill goes to every length to make sure they produce top-quality prints and use conservation materials to ensure prints have a longevity to stand the test of time. Good framing will also help to protect the condition of your prints.

 

We hope that the tips and advice we give here will help all our customers to enjoy their prints to the fullest for many years to come.

If you have any questions, please get in touch and well try our best to help."

David Dancey-Wood

What Causes Foxing?

Foxing marks on an art print 1

How to prevent foxing

Foxing marks in the left corner of an art print

How to treat with foxing

​​There's nothing worse than realising that one of your favourite prints is starting to get damaged. Looking more closely, you can see disfiguring brown, yellow and red stains or spots appearing on your print. These marks are what we call 'foxing'.

 

Sadly, from the moment that a print is completed, a print will start to deteriorate if not properly mounted or handled correctly. Two main causes of foxing are mould and the materials within the paper of the print weakening over time. 

 

Mould, if allowed to grow will feed on the paper, as well as any dirt or organic material on it, for example, finger marks or food stains. Tiny metal impurities can be found in the paper as a result of the original manufacturing process or impurities can arise from dirt and pollution. Damp or humid conditions will encourage mould growth and will cause any defects within the paper to rust and if left untreated, foxing can cause irreparable damage.

 

Thankfully, there are things you can do to stop the spread of foxing, below we look at the preventative measures you can take to maintain the quality of your prints.

 

Steps to avoid foxing

 

As mentioned above, prints are incredibly sensitive to any changes in light and humidity. To avoid foxing in your favourite prints you should regularly check the conditions of them to ensure they remain healthy.

 

Here are some steps you can take;

  • Ensure you place any prints within a high-quality picture frame. A good quality frame not only complements your print but will also protect it

  • Make sure that the glass within a picture frame never touches the artwork. Any change in humidity can cause condensation to form on the inside of the glazing and can create foxing. If there are any changes in temperature, having your art against the glass will enable a transfer of heat, which makes the paper more likely to weaken and enable the likelihood of foxing

  • Do not hang prints over radiators or air vents as heat changes can lead to foxing

  • Avoid direct sunlight; prolonged exposure will cause the print to fade and the paper will weaken

  • Prints should be hung with a slight forward tilt to leave space for air to circulate behind it.

 

If you have some foxing, what can you do about it?

If you have noticed that your print looks to be experiencing the effects of foxing, there are things you can do in order to restore your print and minimise any long-lasting damage. 

But we do not recommend you attempt the restoration yourself

Especially for older, more fragile prints or if you are facing an extensive foxing problem, there are professional book conservators or preservationists who could help. For more information on the professional help you could enlist, find out more at the Institute of Conservation.

Wildlife Sketches does not recommend anyone to attempt to repair this sort of damage themselves, we always recommend using a trained professional restorer as you might find that you do more

damage to the print if you attempt the delicate procedures necessary yourself.

 
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