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Subject: Transporting paintings by air

Transporting paintings by air

From: David Saunders <david.saunders>
Date: Monday, November 13, 2000
I believe Stephen (Hackney) is quite correct in saying that during
transportation, the orientation of paintings with respect to the
direction of travel is not crucial (in Conservation DistList
Instance: 14:26 Wednesday, November 8, 2000)

Earlier this year we were asked to look at this question, as so many
lenders were insisting on the canvas travelling parallel to flight
direction during air journeys that it severely limited the number of
flights with appropriate cargo holds to accommodate cased paintings
in this orientation. This in turn often made journeys longer, as the
paintings had to be transported by road for the entire trip, or
taken by road or road/ferry (the penalty of living on a small
island) to a distant airport from which flights with a larger cargo
hold operated.

We had some difficulty in tracing the source of the recommendation
that paintings travel parallel to flight direction. Although,
intuitively, one might expect the direction of travel to provide
more sudden acceleration and deceleration, it is clear, as Stephen
says, that passenger aircraft are specifically designed not to
subject people to the 'jet pilot experience'. The same argument
applies to road transport--the driver has a seat belt but does not
want to destruction test it on every trip. What started as intuition
has continued as anecdote, become an unwritten rule and, in some
cases, is written into loan agreements.

At present we are conducting a study of shock/vibration experienced
during road, air and ferry journeys of cased paintings of various
sizes. The object is to assess the ratio of shock and vibration in
the two horizontal axes--that is direction of travel versus lateral.
Although we are still only part of the way through the programme of
research, the results so far gathered suggest that there is no
particular advantage in aligning the painting with travel direction.
We hope to publish this eventually, but we are happy to make our
results to date available on request.

Dr David Saunders
Scientific Department
The National Gallery
Trafalgar Square
London WC2N 5DN
+44 20 7747 2826
+Fax: 44 20 7839 3897

                  Conservation DistList Instance 14:28
                 Distributed: Monday, November 13, 2000
                       Message Id: cdl-14-28-001
Received on Monday, 13 November, 2000

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