Bridget Leach


+44 (0)20 7323 8598 / 8348


Bridget Leach has worked at the Museum since 1990 where she specializes in the conservation of papyri. Conservation includes checking and preparing papyri for loans and displays, or for publication, where previously unknown texts can be presented. Work may involve removing old nineteenth century repairs which obscure the writing on a papyrus, or the complete reconstruction of a fragmentary manuscript.

Bridget has a special interest in the pigments used on illustrated papyri, particularly orpiment and realgar. She has conserved papyri for the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin, the Petrie Museum at University College London and Queen’s College Oxford.

Bridget has also worked on site conserving fragments excavated by the Cambridge Theban Mission at Luxor, (For a short video of on-site papyrus conservation, click on Dig Diaries, the year 2000 then 7th October.) She has also worked in Aswan conserving fragments found by the Egypt Exploration Society’s Mission to Qusr Ibrim in 2003 and in 2006 for the Spanish-Egyptian Mission to Dra Abu el Naga,

Current projects

Conserving a group of demotic papyri for publication. Fifteen frames of papyri in the Department of Ancient Egypt and Sudan’s collection have recently been identified by curator Cary Martin as administrative texts from Herakleopolis and dating from the fifth century BC. The manuscripts have been poorly preserved in the past making conservation necessary prior to publication.

Previous projects

Research into the preservation history of a group of papyri known as ‘The Ramesseum Papyri’, since they were excavated in Egypt in 1896. These ancient manuscripts, from approximately 1700 BC, form a unique private library and are now to be fully published through the international Ramesseum papyri project led by Richard Parkinson of the British Museum.

Recent publications

B. Leach, ‘The history and conservation of the papyrus of Tuy’, with J. Taylor and H. Sharp,  British Museum Technical Research Bulletin  Volume 5 ( 2011) pp. 95-104.

B. Leach, Creating borders: New insights into making the Papyrus of Ani, with R. B. Parkinson, Proceedings of the Book of the Dead colloquium (2010).

B. Leach, ‘A conservation history of the Ramesseum Papyri’, Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, 92 forthcoming, 2007), pp. 1-16,

B. Leach, ‘Conservation of the Late Ramesside Papyri’ in R. Demaree, The Bankes Late Ramesside Papyri (London, the British Museum Press, 2006), pp. 29-31

B. Leach, ‘Mounting Papyri at the British Museum’ in Art on Paper: Mounting and Housing, ed. J. Rayner, J. Kosek and B. Christensen (London, Archetype Press, 2005), pp. 193-98