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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. You may even just want a specialist service to transport paintings when you move, ensuring they are kept as safe as possible.

If you’re an avid participator in online auctions for artwork then you might be familiar with getting antique items 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 are 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: You should check for any flaking or marks as well as any cracks or warping to the frame or the piece itself before you transport paintings. When you want to ship oil paintings, make sure you have some bubble wrap over the image itself to prevent damage, although try and ensure it doesn’t touch the image 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, especially when you want to ship oil paintings. 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.

Delivery driver shipping fine art

Choosing the Right Courier

When you need fine art shipping, you want to ensure that whoever is quoting to ship the painting and 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 transport paintings with the due care that they deserve.

Insurance: Any fine art transporter should have a good level of goods in transit cover. Standard policies insure transport up to £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.

Finalising the Delivery

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 and are willing to ship an extra painting.

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 who has quoted to ship your painting.

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 a 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 and make informed decisions in the future when they want to ship paintings.

Millions of people use Shiply

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Fast and Easy

Complete one simple form and quotes come to you via email. Hassle-free, no phone calls required.



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Great Prices

As Shiply's delivery companies are already making similar trips, quotes are up to 75% cheaper than standard rates.



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Frequently Asked Questions

Does Shiply Cover My Area?

Yes! There are couriers using Shiply all over the country and abroad, so whether you need to move a sofa across town or send a car across Europe, we have got you covered.

Does Shiply Have Different Sized Vehicles?

There are thousands of couriers on Shiply, with a wide range of vehicle sizes capable of handling any delivery. Providing the rough dimensions (and pictures if possible) on your listing will allow the delivery company to get the right vehicle sent out to you.

Can I Call Shiply?

Shiply Support is available from 9am - 6pm Monday to Friday on 020 3137 2454. You can also send an email to .

Who Will Carry Out My Delivery?

Whoever you choose! There are thousands of rated transport providers on our platform ready to make a bid to carry out your delivery. It is up to you to decide which quote to accept.

When Will I Receive A Quote?

You will typically start to receive quotes within 30 minutes. If you are worried about the lack of quotes, try adding some more detail to your listing as transport providers may be unsure of dimensions or weight and feel unable to provide an accurate quote. If your delivery is urgent, you can try our 'featured delivery' feature which moves your listing to the top of the search page for couriers.

How Many Quotes Will I Receive?

Whilst there is no guarantee of quotes, 98% of our listings receive at least 3 quotes, so you are likely to find someone who can undertake the delivery of your items.

Does Shiply Provide Packing Materials?

If your item requires packing materials or extra care then you should make sure this is highlighted in your listing and discussed with any transport provider whose quote you are considering. Couriers on Shiply are able to provide all levels of service and can help pack your items, just ensure you inform them of your needs.

Will My Goods Be Tied Up Securely?

Transport providers will almost always tie up an item in the transport vehicle, as the risk of damage from moving around during transit is high. You should always confirm safety precautions and packing needs with transport providers before accepting a quote.

Can Items Be Taken Upstairs?

Yes, items can be taken upstairs if needed, and can also be assembled. Transport providers on Shiply are happy to provide these services, but you should ensure that you are mentioning these requirements in your listings as it may mean a second person is required for the move.

Can I Travel With My Goods?

The majority of transport providers on Shiply are only insured for the transportation of goods, however, some are also able to take people. If you need to travel with your goods, make sure to mention this in your listing and highlight this to any courier who quotes on your listing.

What If I Need To Cancel My Booking?

If you have accepted a quote and paid the deposit but wish to cancel the delivery, then you should first inform your chosen transport provider that you no longer require the delivery. You should then contact us at to have your deposit refunded.

Can I Change The Address Of The Delivery?

If you have not yet accepted a quote then you are able to change the address of your listing. Note that editing details of your listing after publishing will result in active quotes being voided, so you will have to wait for new quotes to come in. If you have already accepted a quote and need to change the address, please let your transport provider know and contact us at .

How Shiply works

How Shiply Works

How Shiply Works

  • 1

    Request quotes from our 425,967 rated transport providers.

  • 2

    Compare prices and read previous customer feedback to pick the right delivery quote for you.

  • 3

    Sit back and relax while your item is safely delivered by your chosen transport provider.

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