Fine Art Trade Guild Standards

Fine Art Trade Guild logo Colour trans

Fine Art Trade Guild

In August 2015, Angie Hopgood was honoured to be elected a member of the prestigious Fine Art Trade Guild.

The Fine Art Trade Guild is the trade association for the art and framing industry Formed in 1910 as the successor to the 1847 Printsellers’ Association, it was set up to oversee the fine art print trade. The Guild continues to set globally recognised standards for prints, and addition, it sets standards and guidelines for picture framing. Guild members agree to abide by the Code of Ethics and keep up to date with the latest standards, trends and materials.

Guild standards have been developed by and for the industry, and are designed to protect consumers as well as providing clear guidelines for manufacturers, framers, publishers and fine art printers. The Guild Print Standards and Print Registration scheme, governing edition size, print quality and durability, have been industry benchmarks for over a century. It would be disastrous for your reputation if someone paid for a completed medal frame that didn’t do justice to the medals, with the mount board quickly fading or that started to discolour.

Customers can always be confident that ALL Angie’s own framing is made to the Guild’s exacting standards for framing. The tapes and adhesives used also conform to the Guild’s stringent standards. This ensures that the frames and materials used in the medal framing not only visually enhance the medals but also protect the medals from physical and mechanical damage, airborne pollution and acid damage. As far as we are aware, Only in the Wild is the ONLY specialist in Letter Art / Alphabet Photography that has this prestigious recognition for high standards of work


Summaries of Standards for Materials Used:

Fine Art Trade Guild Framing Standards

  • The specifications at all levels enable framers to treat 3D objects, fabric, works on canvas etc differently from artwork on paper. Framers must be able to demonstrate that their chosen techniques meet the qualitative requirements of the level to which they are working.
  • It may be necessary to use alternative materials to meet customers’ needs and some artwork may require slightly different treatment to that specified. Deviations from the methods explained in the standards are acceptable if framers can demonstrate that their chosen techniques meet the qualitative requirements of the level to which they are working. For example: oil paintings are not generally glazed; some museums have UV filters on their external glass and internal lighting so do not require this in frames; rebates which are insufficiently deep may require hand-made ‘build-ups’. Changes such as these are permissible but should be itemised clearly on the label and the customer’s receipt/job sheet.
  • The standard of craftsmanship must be high regardless of the level to which the piece is being framed. Frames must always be structurally sound, free from unsightly blemishes and must be safely supported. For example, badly cut and pinned mouldings are unacceptable at any level. The higher specifications use higher quality materials and techniques; higher levels of expertise may be required, but craftsmanship must be of a high standard at all levels.
  • Framers must be careful when assessing manufacturers’ product specifications, to ensure that materials comply with the Guild’s standards. Manufacturers may sometimes need challenging.
  • The term ‘normal conditions’ as used in the Guild’s standards means out of direct sunlight, within the temperature range 10°C – 25°C and relative humidity between 40% and 60%.
  • Customers should be advised that lifetimes given assume that artwork is not inherently unstable.
  • Framers must observe the Guild’s specifications and standards that will be amended from time to time to incorporate changes in materials, technology and knowledge.

Fine Art Trade Guild Standards for Mountboard (mat board) – Summary

The Fine Art Trade Guild’s standards for mountboard are directed to the composition, combination and characteristics of papers and paper boards used in the framing of artwork, keepsakes and memorabilia. They help to give material categorisation of these to fit into the Guild’s Five Levels of Framing.

Mountboard needs to meet at least the Standard Board specification in order to be deemed to be suitable for professional framing. However, Standard Mountboard is only suitable for Commended, Budget and Minimum levels of framing. The quality of boards in this category vary greatly and framers should look closely at manufacturers’ specifications as well as their product descriptions, to differentiate them. Some have ‘conservation core and backing’, but this does not raise them to Conservation level framing standard. They are not deemed suitable for collectable artwork, eg original paintings and limited edition prints of moderate to high value. It is a prerequisite that the type of surface and texture of any board purporting to meet Guild Standards be specified. If the surface is designed to accept decoration and embellishments, as in the case of most mountboard, it should be fit for the purpose. (FACTS, USA, Test No. 6-97).



For Conservation level framing, mountboard that complies fully with the detailed specifications for Guild Conservation Board should be used, as a minimum. Cotton Museum Board is also acceptable for Conservation level framing.



Cotton Museum Board is the only standard of mountboard suitable for Museum level framing.


Fine Art Trade Guild Guidance on the Use of Tapes and Adhesives in Picture Framing

The international symposium on Tapes & Adhesives Standards for Picture Framing, held in London on 8 November 2004, made significant headway in agreeing standards for the tapes and adhesives used in framing.

Fine Art Trade Guild framing standards continue to state that no self-adhesive tape is permissible for attaching artwork in conservation framing and that this should apply to the framing of limited edition prints of moderate to high value.

All materials used by Angie for making handmade frames, conform with the Fine Art Trade Guild standards for complete peace of mind.

You can find out more about the Fine Art Trade Guild Here