A faulty air-conditioning system has been blamed for damage done to a number of 15th and 16th-century paintings held in a temporary depository at the Brussels Museum of Ancient Art. The damage, caused by a drop in humidity levels, includes surface bubbling on wood panel paintings. Humidity in the museum and its storehouses should be kept at a constant 55 per cent, but a defective thermometer probe caused the levels to drop to 28 per cent at the height of the winter cold spell on 14 January. So far the staff have checked 150 of the 842 paintings in storage, finding damage on more than ten of them. However works by great masters such as Jeroen Bosch, Jan van Eyck and Hans Memling have not been affected.

The Brussels Museum of Ancient Art houses a collection of paintings and sculptures dating from the 14th to the 18th century.