Early Women Explorers in Arabia

Date / time: 6 February - 6 March, 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

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An exhibition of photographs, paintings, films, letters, and maps of Arabia illustrating the expeditions of five extraordinary British Women in the late 19th and early 20th century at The Royal Geographical Society, London.

Equestrian Lady Anne Blunt; Diplomat and Archaeologist Gertrude Bell; Writer and Explorer Freya Stark; Muslim Lady Evelyn Cobbold; and Princess Alice Countess of Athlone.

Each of the five women featured in this exhibition are worthy of more space than we have been able to give them. Lady Anne Blunt is credited with saving the Arabian horse; Gertrude Bell was fascinated by the history of the region and was the only woman invited to participate in the 1921 Cairo conference; Freya Stark travelled to the least explored areas of Iraq and the Yemen; Lady Evelyn was the first British woman to undertake Hajj and Princess Alice, the first European royal to visit the region.

All five women were born in the Victorian era and are bound together as women with an intense curiosity and interest in people and cultures, and a quest to understand the world that we live in and the people we live with.

Travel does what good novelists also do to the life of everyday, placing it like a picture in a frame or a gem in its setting, so that the intrinsic qualities are made more clear. Travel does this with the very stuff that everyday life is made of, giving to it the sharp contour and meaning of art. – Freya Stark

Venue: The Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), entrance on Exhibition Road,1 Kensington Gore, London, SW7 2AR

Dates: 6th February 2023 to 6th March 2023, 10am – 5pm daily. Admission is free and booking is not required

Early Women Explorers – Launch Event

To celebrate the opening of the exhibition there will a launch event on Wednesday 8th February, featuring a discussion between Arabist and Mistress of Girton College, Cambridge, Dr Elisabeth Kendall and Saudi Explorer Reem Philby, who has just completed the ‘Heart of Arabia’ expedition in the footsteps of her grandfather Harry St John (Abdullah) Philby. At the event there will also be an inaugural UK showing of Journey of a Lifetime, a short film about Princess Alice’s 1938 journey across Arabia. Doors open at 19:15 for a 19:30 start.

Tickets for the discussion are free but due to limited space, must be booked in advance via the Eventbrite page – https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/women-explorers-in-arabia-tickets516848486737

Image: Wiki Commons