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Gertrude Bell (1868-1926), Traveller, spy and archaeologist

Later Victorian Portraits Catalogue

Sitter in 1 portrait
In her youth, Gertrude Bell lived the life of an accomplished lady; she was the first woman to achieve a First in Modern History at Oxford University. She turned to a life of independent travel, first in the Alps and then in the Middle East, where she became involved with archaeological discovery and political observation. Few people of the time had explored so thoroughly the landscapes of Syria, Iraq, Turkey and Assyria. During and after the First World War she assumed a public role as political adviser to King Faisal, and was instrumental in founding the modern state of Iraq.

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