Prepare For Fine Art Shipping

If you’re lucky enough to own or be in the market for some vintage pieces of art, then at some point or another you may need to get them shipped or transported to a new location either by yourself or a specialist fine art shipping company.

If you’re an avid participator in online auctions for artwork then you might be familiar with getting antique pieces delivered. Whether you’re moving house, buying on eBay or a seasoned auction-goer, you will need to transport your artwork by one means or another.

You can pack up and ship paintings yourself or pad out boxes to deliver a sculpture, but if you’re unable to courier the art to its new home you may need to employ a fine art shipping firm. If you’re moving large sculptures too, like outdoor pieces, the services of a specialised transporter become more necessary.

Checks: Thoroughly inspecting the art for any marks or damage prior to buying and transporting it is vital. Different types of artwork may show damage in varying ways. The condition of the piece should be noted and photographed so that you can refer back to it after the delivery is completed.

­ Paintings: Should be checked for any flaking or marks as well as any cracks or warping to the frame or the piece itself.

­ Sculptures/pottery: Inspect for any cracks or dinks in stone sculptures.Discolouration can be an indicator of underlying damage that has been covered up. Metal and other materials should be inspected for similar elements in addition to warping and bending. Tapping hollow items can reveal whether there are invisible cracks, they should make an echoing sound if intact.

­ Rugs/cloth/fabric: Should be inspected for wearing of fabric and fraying threads; fading of dye is another common issue with fabric artwork.

Paintings, if very valuable, shouldn’t be rolled as this can crack the paint itself and ruin the finish. Packing the piece inside with a front and backboard that don’t directly contact the paint/art material, make sure that the art has sufficient padding and protection from punctures and humidity.

Sculptures are slightly easier to package for transport.Provided that they don’t have a highly delicate surface you can use standard packaging. If they do have a sensitive finish you may want to wrap them in a non-abrasive fabric before adding any additional packaging like polystyrene.

If the piece has multiple delicate limbs then great care should be taken when packing and unpacking it.Each branch should be carefully wrapped, and the whole piece kept secure in its box so as to prevent any movement during transit.

Textiles, while less breakable than other forms of art, should still be stored in a secure container, to avoid light and moisture damage as well as any wear and tear that might be caused by poor handling.

When you need fine art shipping, you want to ensure that whoever is handling it will take the utmost care. Depending on the size of the artwork that requires transit you could require very different services. There are a few things that you should always keep in mind when picking an art courier.

Experience: Packing a Picasso requires a bit more finesse than transporting flat pack furniture. This is why it’s recommended that you hire a specialist artwork courier to deliver your goods safely. Finding a driver that is recognised by antique associations such as the LAPADA will help to ensure that you get a specialised service that will deliver your artwork with the due care that it deserves.

Insurance: Any fine art transporter should have a good level of goods in transit cover. Standard policies insure transport up £10,000 so should the driver be shipping multiple pieces, or if your art is extremely valuable; you might want to pay the extra premium for further cover.

Level of service: If you’re unsure how to prepare your painting or secure your sculpture, then it can be beneficial to employ a full service transporter – hiring a complete service will no doubt cost you more, but can also give you peace of mind. Additionally, items packed by the courier service will usually receive a higher level of insurance cover.

Where are they? Finding a courier that is based near you or the point of delivery can mean that you find a better value quote for your art transport. Drivers who are making journeys near the points of your art’s journey can offer you a better deal if they have some space going begging in their van.

Fine art transportation is quite a specialised service, so there aren’t a great many services available. You’ll have an easier time finding basic couriers, but this isn’t sufficient if you need to ship valuables. Comparing quotes from a range of fine art transportation companies can be bothersome and time-consuming, so having fine art transportation drivers come to you would make the whole process easier!

This is where Shiply comes in; by listing your art move online with us you can receive quotes from drivers who are already making a similar trip.

Firms will compete on price to deliver your artwork, this reverse auction format means that the drivers have to outbid each other to win your business. You don’t just look at the price though, you can view feedback from other Shiply users based on other jobs that the transporter has completed for them.

When you’re happy with a quote, all you have to do is accept it and arrange the details with the courier.

Completing Your Fine Art Delivery

When your art arrives, either you or a designated party will have to sign off safe completion of the delivery with the transporter.

Make sure you check over the condition of your piece when it arrives and again after you’ve unwrapped it. Check for the same signs of damage that you looked for before transporting the art, using your “before” photos as reference. Any damage caused during the trip should be taken up with the transporter as soon as possible.

Once everything’s been signed off and your art has pride of place in its new home, we’d appreciate it if you could leave some feedback for your driver on Shiply. Our feedback score and review system helps our users compare art couriers impartially.