Dame Freya Madeline Stark (1893-1993), Traveller and writer
Sitter in 6 portraits
Brought up in Italy, her life of travelling began when she was thirty-four. Inspired by T.E. Lawrence, she went to Lebanon in 1927 to learn Arabic. She became an authority on the Middle East, and was awarded the medals of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1934, and the Royal Geographic Society, 1942. During the Second World War her understanding of the Arab world informed a successful anti-Axis propaganda campaign. She was in the siege of the British Embassy in Baghdad in 1941. Of her thirty books, The Valley of the Assassins (1934) and Beyond Euphrates (1951) are the best known. After every journey she returned home to Asolo, a town in the Veneto.