Anna-Grethe Rischel

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Anna-Grethe Rischel
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(1935-05-07) May 7, 1935 (age 89)
Copenhagen, Denmark
Alma materRoyal Danish Academy of Fine Arts
  • Paper conservator
  • Paper historian
Spouse(s)Jørgen Rischel

Anna-Grethe Rischel (born May 7, 1935, in Copenhagen, maiden name Andersen) is a Danish paper conservator and paper historian and president of the :de:International Association of Paper Historians (IPH). Her special interests lie in macroscopic and microscopic studies of paper technology and paper fibres, covering both Asian and European paper.


Anna-Grethe Rischel studied at the Textile Department of what is today Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation (KADK)[1] and worked for many years as textile printer under the artistic mane “Claus”. In 1961 she married Jørgen Rischel[2], a professor of linguistics at the University of Copenhagen. With him and their three daughters she moved to Birkerød in 1969, where she lives till today. In 1977 she applied for conservation studies at the School of Conservation of the KADK and received qualifications of a conservator of cultural heritage, in particular, paper and graphic art. From 1980 on she has been working as a conservator at the National Museum of Denmark in Brede.

It was then that her interest in the 2000-year long history of paper really awoke. That interest was particularly stimulated during her preparation of an exhibition in 1983 featuring Japanese art. She went to Nepal, Thailand and Japan, later also to China and studied Oriental paper making at its sources. She initiated research projects on the topic and published many papers.

Between 1993 and 2000 Anna-Grethe Rischel headed the section for paper technology and fiber materials of the National Museum Conservation Department. She continued to work as a conservator on the important collection of paper brought together from numerous countries and owned by the museum. This gave her the opportunity to do research on the technology and development of paper and became the starting point for the development of some specific macroscopic and microscopic survey methods.

This area of research – together with the dissemination of new knowledge acquired in the process – became the core of Anna-Grethe Rischel’s professional life from then onwards. Publications and numerous contributions to international conferences made her well-known in the international conservation community.

After her retirement she continued her analysis activity on handmade paper. From 2009 on she focused in particular on early Central Asian paper.


In 1986 Anna-Grethe Rischel became a member of the Nordic Paper History Association[3] and of the :de:International Association of Paper Historians (IPH). She also became member of the British Association of Paper Historians[4]. In 2008 she was elected to be the 7th President of IPH as first Scandinavian and first woman. In this role she has been also editor of the IPH Paper History[5] periodical until 2018. Since 2008 she has also been a member of the regional parliament of Birkerød.

Publications (selection)

  • Julius von Wiesner and his importance for scientific research and analysis of paper. In: Paper history (Vol. 18, 2014, Nr. 1: 31-38).
  • Rag paper : studies of its oriental origin and development. In: 30: International Congress of Paper Historians (30 : 2010 : Angoulême u.a.): Papers of the XXXth International Congress of Paper Historians (Vol. 18, 2010: 99-106).
  • The interaction between Eastern and Western papermaking. In: 29: International Congress of Paper Historians (29 : 2008 : Stockholm): Papers of the 29th International Congress of Paper Historians (Vol. 17, 2008: 55-64).
  • Arab paper - the Oriental link between Asiatic and European paper : a comparative macroscopic and microscopic analysis. In: 28: International Congress of Paper Historians (28 : 2006 : Capellades): Papers of the 28th International Congress of Paper Historians (Vol. 16, 2006: 137-142).
  • Adaptation and innovation in technology and quality : a study of 250 years of Danish and European rag paper. In: 27: International Congress of Paper Historians (27 : 2004 : Duszniki-Zdrój; Kraków): Papers of the 27th International Congress of Paper Historians (Vol. 15, 2004: 105-115).
  • Analysis of the papermaker's choice of fibrous materials and technolgy along the paper road. Paper as a medium of cultural heritage (2004: [202]-208).
  • Through the microscope lens : classification of Oriental paper technology and fibres. Looking at Paper: Evidence and Interpretation (2001: 179-188).
  • Looking at Central Asian paper of Turkish, Tibetan and Chinese origin from the Silk Roads. International Congress of Paper Historians (24 : 1998 : Porto).
  • The collection of Japanese paper at the National Museum of Denmark. In: Kami no do (1996: 37-43).
  • Etnografisk Samling på Nationalmuseet : reg. over den japanske papirprovesamling. Kopenhagen 1994.
  • Comparative studies of paper from Sven Hedin Collection in Stockholm and Japanese paper from the 18th century in the National Museum in Copenhagen. In: 22: International Congress of Paper Historians (22 : 1994 : Annonay): Papers of the 22nd International Congress of Paper Historians (Vol. 10, 1994: 22-24).
  • Traditional paper making in Nepal and Thailand. In: International Association of Paper Historians: IPH yearbook (Vol. 6, 1986: 131-139).
  • Rejseindtryk frå Nepal. In: Föreningen Nordiska Pappershistoriker: NPH-nytt (Vol. 13, 1985, Nr. 3/4: 43-55).
  • Det klassiske papirmagerhåndværk lever i Nepal og Thailand — endnu. In: Nationalmuseets arbeijdsmark. - [København] (1985: 128-141).
  • Lidt om papirsegl. In: Föreningen Nordiska Pappershistoriker: NPH-nytt (Vol. 12, 1984, Nr. 1: 1-11).
  • Simone-Christiane Raschmann; Anna-Grethe Rischel: Buddhica aus der Berliner Turfansammlung. Teil 1, Das apokryphe Sutra Säkiz yükmäk yaruk. Stuttgart : Franz Steiner Verlag, 2012.


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