The Da Vinci Code may have been a popular e-book for years, but now readers around the world can view the manuscripts of Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex Arundel in high definition on iPad as the British Library launches its “e-book treasures” series.

The Italian manuscript written in Da Vinci’s characteristic “mirror writing” — left-handed and moving from right to left — is a collection of notes, drawings and short treatises on subjects ranging from the physical properties of water to descriptions of a prehistoric sea monster.

The loose papers which form the codex date from various periods of Da Vinci’s career and were collected together in a bound volume after his death in 1519.

“The iPad allows for greater intimacy and engagement akin to reading the original and we are delighted to be the first to provide full access to some of our unique treasures in this way,” said Frances Brindle of the British Library in London.

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