Bringing the story to life
Back in London, Maslaha retired to the library, helped by a team of PhD students.
The voices of the travellers – Lady Mary Montagu, Thomas Dallam, Thomas Coryate, Jean de Thevenot, Evliya himself – echoed through our minds, along with a thousand other fascinating and inspiring facts and concepts. Eventually, Nut went to the British Library and, with some gentle force, prised Raheel away from his new Ottoman obsession and sat him down to write – fed by constant revelations and golden nuggets of knowledge from Caroline, Donna and Mac.
Meanwhile, the search for high quality images began. What pictures, drawings, maps, photos, charts could bring the text to life? Caroline put us in touch with Michael Rogers, curator of the Khalili Collection – the largest private Islamic art collection in the world. The Wellcome Trust and the British Library also had some fabulous images. Nonetheless, this was no easy task and each image had to be scrutinized for historical accuracy – we were determined to stay true to the story.
Ben, our merry designer, set about carefully crafting the design of the exhibition and for a few days a swarm of words, images, punctuation and captions flew around his ears and eyes as panel after panel began to emerge. The exhibition was really beginning to take shape…