Papers relating to the War of Candia

I decide to look at this book out of sheer curiosity. Inside the beautifully made leather binding are hundreds of pages filled with delicate handmade paper covered in fine ink lettering written in Italian. Towards the end of the book the handwriting style seems to change, so it seems probable there were two authors. The paper becomes thinner in the last fifty pages of the book and suddenly you can clearly see the silhouette of the writing on the back of the page like veins in a leaf. I choose the central section to photograph and decide to go in really close and focus on two words. The first is written in fading sepia ink and you can imagine that this was the point when the writer of the text dipped his quill into the ink pot, since the next word is dark and fat and the edges of the letter have bled slightly into the page because of the substantial amount of ink used. I examine the letters closely using a magnifying glass and as I get closer I manage to snort a large quantity of fine dust from the book's surface which makes me sneeze violently. This is of course an unforgivable and highly dangerous thing to do near to an irreplaceable 17th century manuscript. The curator sitting on the raised desk in the centre of the Reading Room eyes me suspiciously. 'Allergies', I mouth, 'sorry'. His face remains stony and I notice him peering at me constantly over his glasses throughout the morning. R.L

Taken from: Papers relating to the War of Candia
Date: 1669
Copyright: By permission of the British Library Board
Shelfmark: Add. 8642