Map from the journal of an Armenian soldier

Another journal from Egypt with a very different feel to the last, having been written by a man from Armenia, employed in the Egyptian service, mainly concerning archaeological excavations. His journals include records and sketches of these excavations and a number of personal letters, drawings, maps and papers. I spent a considerable amount of time looking through a number of Hékékyan's journals. They are just such beautiful objects. In my opinion their beauty is due to a number of different factors - much credit must go the author and the style and quality of his handiwork, but the holes left by bookworms add mystery and texture to the pages. They've eaten their way through large sections of these journals, creating worm holes that literally carve out new paths in the text. Their destruction has deleted parts of the script whilst adding a new, dimensional feel to the document. Intervention by the paper conservator has stopped the process of time and decay destroying these documents entirely, but the majority of the journals have already been badly eaten away. My interest in this map is purely aesthetic. Turned on its side it looks like a figure drawing; the worm holes add another layer to the image and the texture of the map is rough due to the fine film of mesh netting that is holding the remnants of the page together. Seeing this image and the obvious craft involved in conserving such a page inspired me to visit the Conservation Department to see how this was done. R.L.

Taken from: Journal and Private correspondence of Joseph Hékékyan
Author / Creator: Joseph Hékékyan
Date: 1841-1844
Copyright: By permission of the British Library Board
Shelfmark: Add.37449