Art On Superyachts

As yachts get bigger it is inevitable that the decorative art displayed onboard becomes more and more valuable. The responsibility for safeguarding these precious pieces almost always falls to the Crew, but do you really know how to conserve the artwork you have onboard? Do you know the name of the artist, it’s origin or its true value? Can you articulate what you see in front of you and respond to guests’ questions?

Pandora Mather Lees is passionate about educating Captains and Crew in art appreciation. In 2017 she realised that, whilst there were a wide range of courses being offered to interior crew connected with the beauty of the interior and overall guest experience, there was nothing that specifically focused on the art and decorative pieces onboard. With a degree in History of Art and over 25 years’ experience in the cultural sector, she began working closely with other industry experts such as lawyers, insurers and conservators to create a 10-module course with the aim of assisting superyacht crew to better understand and appreciate art at sea.

Successfully caring for these valuable items can present unique challenges for interior crew. Risks can be categorised by environmental damage, human intervention and legal pitfalls with certain cultural objects. Pandora’s bespoke training courses in the practical care of art on yachts covers the safety, assessment and conservation of all art onboard…

How should you get fine art objects cleaned, conserved or technically analysed? Some of the most common mistakes made involve cleaning or trying to fix accidents that have occurred. Pandora explains that, quite often, the crew has no idea what they have onboard – “There could be a $39 million Lucio Fontana hanging on the wall, but most crew wouldn’t recognise is as an extraordinary work of art. Say it’s hanging on the wall behind the bar, and it gets splashed, then what do you do? If you didn’t know its value, you might wipe it clean with a cloth”.

Putting together a manual focused on how to clean and take care of the art onboard can be very useful. Written instructions can go a long way in preventing accidents and a little bit of knowledge can help ensure that a £100,000 crystal sculpture isn’t put through the dishwasher or that the owners Crocodile Skin Hermes handbag isn’t confiscated by customs for having the wrong paperwork! With this in mind Pandora offers onboard consultancy and art surveys to assist with the documentation, preservation and integrity of all luxury objects onboard.

Do you know how to find and fit appropriate casings, framing and coverings for paintings, sculptures and designer pieces on board? The placement of artwork onboard and the risks it may be exposed to is also covered. Unfortunately, interior designers do not always consider the practicality of the placement of such pieces and they can easily be damaged by sunlight, temperature and humidity, to name just some of the “The Ten Agents of Deterioration” that Pandora discusses in more detail.

Could you safely organise the packing of a valuable painting and are you aware of the various export risks of taking art into international waters? It is helpful to know that if an artwork isn’t packed professionally and gets damaged along the way, insurance won’t cover it. The same is said for transporting and installing artwork. Shipping art to other countries can also be complex and may need to involve multiple companies with different jurisdictions in different countries.

Art on Superyachts 1 or 2-day certified courses will equip you with the knowledge and skills to care for art collections aboard luxury vessels. You will learn how to avoid risks, enjoy your surroundings and have the comfort of ongoing personal support once completed. The courses can be delivered either as one to one training, lectures, workshops or as a course and consultancy onboard and the location can be adapted to suit you. The full course to include an understanding of art history is two days and can be taught in convenient sized modules. Previous students have been put in charge of the art on their vessel after gaining their certificate. Pandora offers ongoing support for questions after the course. This is also great for a wider understanding of the luxury industry and options to consider for a future career.