Paper is a mass of cellulose, derived from vegetable fibers and water. After being treated and refined, it receives other materials such as glues, mineral charges and pigments. The first European papers were made by hand with flax, hemp and cotton rags. The paper in Aimé Taunay’s notebook dates back to the early 19th century, when the processes of fiber refining and production were being mechanized. At that time, besides herb fibers, fibers of arborescent plants, especially pine and eucalyptus, were introduced. This allowed to meet the growing international demand for paper, although with low quality products, of short durability.
The ferrogalic ink in the manuscript was widely used from the end of the 15th century up to the first half of the 20th century. This ink was relatively easy to prepare and, once adhered to the support could no longer be removed. Its essential principle is a ferrogalic complex obtained by reaction of tannins and iron sulphate. The tannins are obtained from grains (oak fruit, Quercus spp.) and the colour of the paint is related to the concentration of those substances and the chemical processes that occur during and after the paint preparation. Pale at the beginning, the ink gradually darkens until it becomes black. Nowadays many old documents that were written with this ink, including Taunay’s notebook itself, show a deteriorated brown coloration.