This book, published to coincide with a major exhibition at the National Maritime Museum to mark the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London, centres on Samuel Pepys (1633-1703), the famous diarist and the greatest administrator of the Stuart Age. Not only a passionate diarist, Pepys was also a prolific correspondent who lived through and wrote about all the key events and leading individuals of his time: the Restoration of Charles II, the Great Plague, the Fire of London, the raid of the Dutch fleet in the river Medway, the Kings mistresses. Through a series of essays by leading experts, this publication reveals the rich diversity of his career and interests from the theatre, to advances in science and development of the Royal Navy. His life was so utterly entwined with the extraordinary period he lived through he was even a witness to the beheading of Charles I that the book becomes a portrait of the age. Each chapter has two or three essays followed by discussion of specific objects and paintings.