About picture mounts : Their role : Quality issues

Mounts and backing should be important elements in the framing process. Visually, mountboards can look wonderful when carefully underplayed beside the work on display, whilst also giving emphasisfrom fabulous to subtle when required. Mounts are also vital to protect and preserve artwork at the same time as showing it off.

Mounts come in a wide range of quality, colours and thicknesses. The super-thick 4.1 mm gives a superbly architectural and modern feel with a deep, sharp wide bevel. Alternatively, mounts can be wash-lined to order, hand painted in watercolour with specific colours mixed for individual artworks. Fabric mounts add texture, and often depth for box framing.

Mount Design

Differing border sizes, colour combinations and textures create infinitely variable, unique expressions of individual taste, and multiple mountboards can be combined to excellent effect.

Experimenting with colour and design shows how the look of an image can be changed; we can 'spruce up' an old picture with a fresh clean mount or colour option to suit new decor, or we can go for a timeless, classic mount.

Conservation Framing : Mountboard requirements

Conservation framing requires that a mount meets a minimum standard, backs the artwork as well as faces it, and that any tapes used in the process also meet a minimum standard and are applied correctly. The chances are high that many items framed over ten years ago, or that are bought ready framed will have acidic mounting materials, which will burn into any artwork leaving visible damage. Any standard quality board will do this within approximately two years.

Mountboard with molecular traps, to prevent the deterioration caused by airborne pollutants is an option for protecting artwork more comprehensively.
To date, Alphamat Artcare is the only board to offer this, therefore it is the type of board we use by default in our framing workshop.


There are several kinds of mountboard available for use depending on requirements:

1: Museum mountboard

100% Cotton Rag board is the traditionally accepted Museum standard.
The Cotton Rag board we use and stock has the added advantage of patented Artcare MicroChamber® technology.

2: Conservation grade+

Alphamat Artcare Virgin Alpha-cellulose board with patented MicroChamber® technology.
This is our preferred choice, because it offers proactive protection for any artwork. We stock this board, and use it by default.
To find out why, checkout Artcare Quality.

3: Conservation Mountboard

Alpha-cellulose board (commonly termed Conservation Board and also often incorrectly referred to as 'Acid Free Board'), is accepted as safe for conservation framing, but only offers passive protection.
We don't use or stock this either.

4: Low grade mountboard

Standard (base level, white core or cream core) board. Often wrongly termed 'Acid Free Board' by those who try to impress. This is the cheapest board, and is used mainly by bulk 'Contract' framers, who are working to a price, and who don't claim to be working to a specific quality.

However, it is also - perhaps unsurprisingly - the board of choice for an embarrassing percentage of 'framers' in the UK today. This board is not acceptable for lasting, conservation use, and therefore, we do not use, or stock it.