A PAINTING is back on display after being recovered from a museum's stores.

The watercolour, painted in 1821, shows the intricate coffin of one of Newcastle's Hancock Museum's Egyptian mummies.

One of Northumbria's most distinguished portrait painters, James Ramsay, was commissioned to produce it as an accurate record of the drawings and hieroglyphics on Bakt-Hor-Nehkt's coffin, for scientific purposes and further research.

When the painting was recovered, it was in a poor condition, suffering from light damage and years of surface dirt.

Now, thanks to a grant from the Sir James Knott Trust, it has been restored by Northumbria University as part of a student research project.

The mummy was presented to the Literary and Philosophical Society of Newcastle in its intricately decorated wooden cartonnage by Thomas Coats, of Haydon Bridge, Northumberland, in 1821.

Mr Coats bought the mummy during a visit to Gournou in upper Egypt and transported it back to England, via India.

It is on display in the museum's Land of the Pharaohs gallery within its coffin, and visitors can see the Egyptian princess's face re-created by a computer programme.

Steve McLean, curator of the Hancock Museum, said: "It is one of the oldest items in the archives of the Natural History Society of Northumbria, which owns the Hancock, and it is a valuable addition to the museum's Egyptian gallery."

The museum is open from Monday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm, and 2pm to 5pm on Sunday.

Admission costs £4.50 for adults, £2.95 for children and concessions, and £12.95 for families.