A COLLECTION devoted to one of Wearside’s most celebrated women has been boosted by a new acquisition.
Mountaineer, archaeologist, adventurer and Arab culture expert Gertrude Bell played a key role in the Middle East during the First World War and helped create modern Iraq.
Born in Washington, her story will be told in the forthcoming Werner Herzog film Queen of the Desert, starring Nicole Kidman and Damian Lewis, who has visited Newcastle University to view the Gertrude Bell archive.
Her archive includes 7,000 of her photographs, letters, diaries, field notes and her extensive library. Now textiles she collected during her adventures have been acquired by the university.
The four embroidered pieces were probably used as tent dividers.
The pieces were taken by Bell to Wallington Hall in Northumberland, where her half-sister lived and where they stayed until they were auctioned late last year.
Bell expert Dr Mark Jackson, a lecturer in archaeology at Newcastle University, said: “This is very exciting for us. Although the university houses Gertrude Bell’s archive, this will be the first time we have items which she bought on her travels and belonged to her.
“The photographs, diaries and letters are fantastic but the textiles give the flavour of the places she visited.”