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Photographs of Arabia by Wilfred Thesiger

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Explore over 5000 images from Arabia by the renowned traveller and photographer Sir Wilfred Thesiger between 1945 and 1950, including his two famous crossings of the Empty Quarter (Rub' Al Khali), as memorably described in his classic travelogue Arabian Sands (1959).

Sir Wilfred Thesiger (1910-2003) was probably the greatest traveller of the twentieth century, and one of its greatest explorers. His travel writings and autobiography A Life of My Choice (1987) have been hailed as classics of travel literature, and his other publications, such as Desert, Marsh and Mountain (1979), introduced many more people to his remarkable archive of photography spanning over fifty years of travel.

In 2004 his collection of 38,000 negatives and 71 personal albums were accepted by the UK government via its art in lieu of inheritance tax scheme and allocated to the Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford.

The Museum has organised several exhibitions of the collection since 1993. In June 2010 the Museum opened its most recent exhibition, 'Wilfred Thesiger in Africa: A Centenary Exhibition', accompanied by a major new publication Wilfred Thesiger in Africa (HarperPress).


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