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Remembering Lady Anne Blunt 100 years on...

Lady Anne Blunt, the driving force behind the foundation of the world famous Crabbet stud in Sussex, England, died in Egypt on 15th December 1917.

She left behind a legacy which lives on today in the Arabian horse world-wide, inspiring many people to found Arabian studs with  horses imported or bred at  the Crabbet Stud.  This was first founded in 1878 with horses she and her husband brought to England from their epic trips to buy horses from Bedouin tribes of the Middle East.

“After 1900 Lady Anne could point with pride to more than a hundred choice Arabs at Crabbet Park and fifty at Sheik Obeyd. The tender young plant that the Blunts had rooted in Sussex soil twenty years earlier had grown into a mighty tree”

Erika Shiele, The Arab Horse in Europe 

The Granddaughter of the poet Lord Byron and the daughter of Ada Lovelace,  a gifted mathematician, Lady Anne became fluent in Arabic (in addition to her fluent German, French, Italian and Spanish) which allowed her to gain huge respect from the Bedouins to the point of being asked to arbitrate on the meaning of some ancient texts. She loved the nomadic lifestyle, even supervising the creation of a superior tent to her own specifications, and was quite happy riding for 10 hours a day across the deserts in often very arduous conditions. Lady Anne showed tremendous loyalty to her often wayward husband, Wilfrid, under so many challenging times of political unrest and philandering.

“There was never anybody so courageous as she was..."
Wilfrid Scawen Blunt

Lady Anne was also a skilled artist having trained under John Ruskin, the leading English art critic of the Victorian era. She painted many watercolours of scenes during their travels to the Middle East.

Lady Anne was also a skilled artist having trainied under John Ruskin the leading English art critic of the Victorian era, as well as an art patron,and watercolourist.

Lady Anne watercolour of 'Camels by the River'

She was also a keen violinist, owning two Stradivarius violins, one of which is known as The Lady Blunt, a Stradivarius dating back to 1721, which she bought at the age of 27. This instrument was sold at a charity auction in aid of the Japan earthquake relief fund in 2011 for the world record price of £9.8m having been described as "the best-preserved Stradivarius to be offered for sale in the past century."

It is against this privileged background that  Lady Anne became one of the first European women to ever travel so far into the deserts of Arabia and the record of her two epic journeys are are to be found in her fascinating books of her travels each in two volumes. The first book 'The Bedouin Tribes of the Euphrates' was published in 1879 and records their travels into  Mesopotamia and Persia in 1877/1878 and the second, 'A Pilgrimage to Nejd' published in 1881, details the epic journey of some 2000 miles made just the following year across the deserts of Arabia to Nejd in what is now central Saudi Arabia. When one considers that these travels were made by camel and on horseback across deserts with raging tribal wars, through the freezing cold nights and blisteringly hot days, sleeping under the stars or in mud hovels or their beloved tents, ..... these were truly remarkable adventures by a truly remarkable Lady.

Lady Anne Blunt

1837 - 1917

“She was physically resilient, level-headed in crises, immensely brave, self assured resourceful, adaptable, unsentimental and scholarly.”

Dervla Murphy, from her introduction to the 1985 reprint of 'A Pilgrimage to Nejd' 

“The main credit for the huge achievements of Crabbet Park belong to Lady Anne, a woman of impeccable character, great courage and perseverance and possessing superb eye for refinement and beauty.."

Hans Joachim Nagel 
The Arabian Horse: Nature's Creation and the Art of Breeding

“To the end of her life she had the heart of a child, the brain of a scholar and the soul of a saint.”

Lady Wentworth, The Authentic Arabian
The 'Lady Blunt' Stradivarius 1721
Greylight Crabbet Arabian stallion

To coincide with the 100th anniversary of the passing of this great Lady and 140 years since their first adventure to look for Arabian horses in the deserts of Arabia, we have a special limited edition of this lovely wall plaque by the talented equine sculptor Sara Lee Debnam. 

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