The mechanism by which sulfonated 2-hydroxybenzophenone ultraviolet (UV) absorbers protect wool fabric against photoyellowing has been studied. The absorption and luminescence properties of two 2-hydroxybenzophenone-5-sulfonates and four 2-hydroxybenzophenone-2′hyphen;sulfonates are compared. The 2-hydroxy-benzophenones are nonfluorescent in wool, but they all show phosphorescence at room temperature. The phosphorescence is attributed to the phenolate anion produced by ionization of the hydroxyl group. The nature of substituents in the 3-position and 4-position of the phenolic ring is important in controlling the formation of luminescent species which may initiate unwanted photochemical reactions in wool. The protective screening effect of each absorber in wool fabric has been determined theoretically, using a method of analysis based on diffuse reflectance spectroscopy; the results are compared with the values determined experimentally by measuring the changes in yellowness that result when treated and untreated fabrics are exposed to fluorescent sunlamps (maximum energy at 310 nm). In all cases, UV screening was shown to be the important mode of photostabilization. The levels of photoprotection were much higher than those reported previously for treated fabrics that were exposed for long periods to simulated sunlight, behind glass. Possible reasons for the poor long-term performance of the 2-hydroxybenzophenones in wool are discussed.