Tossed off the expectations of Victorian society to become an expert mountaineer and archaeologist, traveled the Middle East by herself – later teaching Lawrence of Arabia how it’s done – and became one of the most influential women in the English empire, advocating loudly for Iraq’s self-governance.
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The image, nominally, presents Gertrude teaching Faisal, the composition is set up as two sides representing opposing ideas.
On Gertrude’s side, the tones are green, and there’s many signs of lush greenery and life.
On the other side are browns and dull tones. Walking by a barracks are T.E. Lawrence and Mark Sykes, the latter of whom once wrote that Gertrude was a “conceited, gushing, flat-chested, man-woman, globe-trotting, rumpwagging, blethering ass.”
Finally, two soldiers, ostensibly just on patrol, are walking towards each other in the background, one in green and one in brown, as a symbol of the conflict on display here.
The map on the table is period-accurate, and the china set – one of which she insisted on carrying everywhere – should be as well.