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When discussing fire safety, there’s a saying that “things can be replaced.” This is absolutely true, though when it comes time to replace those things, some things are more easily replaced than others. Check out these two examples of fine art & heirloom furniture that were damaged in fire losses, and how they were conserved. Then check out the new CE course “Art and Heirloom Claims,” now available to PLRB members.

Use the slider to compare before (left) with after (right).

Heat Damage to Painting

Fire and soot is something that you are going to see most common in your claims examples. And I wanted to share this treatment of a portrait which was passed down through the family from several generations. This is a great example where an adjuster thought this portrait was in very close to the fire and it caused blistering in the paint layers, such as you see in the middle of the cheek there in the upper right. A lot of people may not realize that there are innovations in the field of conservation which can preserve things like this where many people would assume that they are a total loss and would cash out and close the claim when this piece is obviously very important to the family. It was also signed and dated, so it had market value. And it was treated on a hot table using heat and chemicals passed up through using vapor through the backside of the canvas, which relaxed the tented pigment down and secured it back to the gesso layer. And then you can see the beautiful sensitivities to the pigments and the skin and the eyes in the after treatment on the right. A great example of something that would have normally been called a complete loss and was able to be treated using the innovations in the industry.

Fire Damage to Historic Furniture

And lastly, here is an example work of art that is actually a furniture piece that was part of an original historic property and built into the home as a utilitarian piece of furniture. But because it was in a historic property, it was important not to replace this work. It was important to retain the original, and unfortunately the severe fire damaged areas were cut out and removed. The fills were done with similar wood and the finish, which was very, very tricky to match. And you can see the fantastic outcome on the bottom here. And then it was returned to this historic home and the integrity of the property was as best as possible considering the severe fire damage that occurred.

Check out the new CE course “Art and Heirloom Claims”, now available to PLRB members under the Education tab, CE Modules.