Academic journal article The Byron Journal

Lady Anne Blunt: A Biography

Academic journal article The Byron Journal

Lady Anne Blunt: A Biography

Article excerpt

LADY ANNE BLUNT: A BIOGRAPHY. By H. V. F. Winstone. London: Barzan Publishing, 2003. Pp. v + 381. ISBN 1-9009-8857-7. No price given.

Buried in the nuns' cemetery on Jabal Ahmar, Red Hill, in Arabia, the headstone of her grave was designed by the husband she never ceased to adore, the poet/mountebank/revolutionary and compulsive womanizer, William Scawen Blunt. Lady Anne Blunt, Byron's granddaughter, had suffered throughout her long marriage innumerable miscarriages, stress and anguish and at her death, her black-eyed russet beauty disfigured by an apparently incurable skin complaint, she was yet indomitable, modest to the point of humility about her remarkable gifts and achievements. The house near Heliopolis, 'an apricot paradise' she and Blunt created in the desert kingdom, Sheikh Obeyd, had become a refuge for scholars and intelligence personnel. She had become the world authority on the Arabian horse, mastered Arabic and Arab culture, traversed the desert in extraordinary circumstances of great danger - set upon by mounted lancers who 'were gentlemen' - and survived. Visiting a harem, 'What do you do to pass the time?' she enquired. 'We do nothing' was the reply. Drawing horses was her favourite pastime as a girl and, taught by Ruskin, she produced accomplished watercolours, which illustrate this handsome biography, following on her published diaries in which desert life is revealed in all its ancient elegance and seductive savagery. …

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