the Beaten Track: Three Centuries of Women Travellers
Imagine a traveller, and you imagine a pioneering white man,
probably of the early Victorian era, cutting his way from the
Cape to Cairo with an entourage of a few hundred Africans in
tow. But women have been at it for centuries. From playwright
and novelist Aphra Behn’s journey to Surinam
in the 1660s to Freya Stark’s 20th century desert journeys,
they have placed their own marks on the map of exploration.
I was asked to write this book to coincide with an exhibition
at the National Portrait Gallery of the same title. My
article in the Museums Journal describes the fraught process of collaboration
between curator and author.
Left: Maria, Lady Callcott,
Sir Thomas Lawrence, 1819
National Portrait Gallery, London