Fire and Smoke Damaged Oil Paintings

In the event of smoke and fire harming your artwork, our experienced team is able to respond immediately to lessen damage and reduce claim costs.

Alongside the disrepair caused by fire, soot and ash from fireplaces and cigarette and cigar smoke all contribute to the discolouration of oil paintings.

While still in the property, the damaged paintings should not be touched or wiped, as this will cause the grinding of the soot and ash particles into the painted surface and risk subsequent harm.  It should also not be attempted to paint over the surface to try and ‘re-colour’ the artwork. Severe heat will cause the paint to swell and then form blisters and deterioration to the paint layer. These blisters should not be burst or sanded down. Blistering and specialist treatments for smoke and fire damage can only be dealt with in a conservation studio. 

Using the correct safety equipment, following a fire we can attend a site visit to assess the damage. After this initial assessment – and for all fire and smoke damaged paintings – a detailed recommendation report will be provided along with a quotation.

Our trained art handlers and conservators will create an inventory, pack and transport the damaged contents, and work on site when necessary.

A trained conservator will be able to comprehensively decontaminate the artwork and use an ozone generator to remove unpleasant odours. The painting will be cleaned and the fine particles of soot and ash removed without compromising the structural or aesthetic quality of the painting.

Blistering can be treated by heating the affected areas with a hot spatula, and when soft, the paint layer can be moulded back into place.

Each painting will be assessed and a tailored plan for restoration will be created. Depending on the condition of the structural support, additional treatments including relining and re-tensioning of the canvas, and installing new stretcher bars to support the canvas, may be necessary.

Dealing with fire and smoke damage to your contents and property is a stressful situation. The experience we possess in disaster recovery reduces the difficulties of having to organise it yourself, allowing your contents to be restored and normal life to resume more quickly.

For more information on the restoration of fire and smoke damaged oil paintings, you may like to read our Ackergill Tower Fire Case Study.



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