Later Victorian Portraits Catalogue

Charles Montagu Doughty (1843-1926), Poet and traveller

Explorer, travel writer and poet; born 19 August 1843 at Theberton Hall, Leiston, Suffolk. Graduated from Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge 1865; travelled in Europe, North Africa and Middle East 1870–75; studied Arabic in Damascus 1875–6, before travelling south with the hajj caravan to Arabia; lived with Bedouins, studied Nabataean archaeological remains of Mada‘in Saleh, undertook mapping, made geological and anthropological observations 1876–8; in India 1878; on return to England wrote Travels in Arabia Deserta 1879–84 (published with difficulty 1888), an acclaimed masterpiece, though honours slow to follow; later concentrated on writing poetry and plays; married 1886 and led a quiet life in Eastbourne and later Sissinghurst; awarded RGS gold medal 1912; died at home 20 January 1926, cremated at Golders Green, London.

In Damascus Doughty adopted the name of Khalil and dressed as ‘an Arab Christian of the town’ (1875); on the hajj pilgrimage he was ‘clothed as a Syrian of simple fortune’ (1876).[1] On his return to England in 1878 he was described as:

Very tall, thin, not in the least bronzed, reddish fair hair and beard, in whitish cotton clothes of some soft Eastern material, a green band often twisted round his waist; sockless, feet thrust into heelless sandals, and using when he went out a green umbrella.[2]

In 1909 he appeared

A tall, upright man, with thick red beard and thick greyish hair, 66 years old … very serious and self-contained, with a voice laden with sorrow – but a splendid head and fine manners. He lives the life of a hermit at Eastbourne and knows scarcely anyone.[3]

Carol Blackett-Ord

Footnotesback to top

1) Doughty 1921, vol.1, p.4.
2) Taylor 1999, pp.51–2.
3) Taylor 1999, pp.298–9.

Referencesback to top

Arberry 1943
Arberry, A.J., British Orientalists, London, 1943.

Doughty 1908
Doughty, C.M., Wanderings in Arabia: being an abridgement of ‘Travels in Arabia Deserta’, 2 vols, London, 1908.

Doughty 1921
Doughty, C.M., Travels in Arabia Deserta, 2nd ed., 2 vols, London and Boston, 1921.

Doughty 1923
Doughty, C.M., Travels in Arabia Deserta, 3rd ed., 2 vols, London, 1923.

Doughty 1936
Doughty, C.M., Travels in Arabia Deserta, 6th ed., 2 vols, 1936.

Fairley 1935
Fairley, B., ed., Selected Passages from the Dawn in Britain of Charles Doughty, London, 1935.

Garnett 1938
Garnett, D., ed., The Letters of T.E. Lawrence, London, 1938.

Hogarth 1904
Hogarth, D.G., The Penetration of Arabia: A Record of the Development of Western Knowledge concerning the Arabian Peninsula, London, 1904.

Hogarth 1928
Hogarth, D.G., The Life of Charles M. Doughty, Oxford, 1928.

Hogarth 1937
Hogarth, W.D., ‘Doughty, Charles Montagu (1843–1926)’, DNB, Oxford, 1937.

Kennington 1921
Arab Portraits by Eric H. Kennington, with prefatory note by T.E. Lawrence, exh. cat., Leicester Galleries, London, 1921.

Lawrence 1937
Lawrence, A.W., ed., T.E. Lawrence by his Friends, London, 1937.

Lawrence 1962
Lawrence, A.W., ed., Letters to T.E. Lawrence, London, 1962.

Schwabe 1926
Schwabe, R., ‘Francis Dodd’, Print Collector’s Quarterly, vol.13, 1926, pp.249–272, 369–75.

Spicer-Simson 1924
Spicer-Simson, T., Men of Letters of the British Isles. Portrait Medallions from the Life, New York, 1924.

Tabachnick 2004
Tabachnick, S.E., ‘Doughty, Charles Montagu (1843–1926)’, ODNB, Oxford, 2004; online ed., May 2006.

[Tate Gallery] 1927
National Gallery Millbank: A Record of Ten Years 1917–1927, Glasgow, 1927.

Taylor 1999
Taylor, A., God’s Fugitive: The Life of C.M. Doughty, London, 1999.

Wilson 1988
Wilson, J., T.E. Lawrence, exh. cat., NPG, London, 1988.