Lady Anne Blunt co-founder of the Crabbet Stud

22 September 1937 - 15 December 1917 (80 years)

Anne Isabella Noel Blunt, 15th Baroness Wentworth (née King-Noel; 22 September 1837 – 15 December 1917), known for most of her life as Lady Anne Blunt, was co-founder, with her husband the poet Wilfrid Scawen Blunt, of the Crabbet Arabian Stud.

 

The two married on 8 June 1869. From the late 1870s, Wilfrid and Lady Anne travelled extensively in Arabia and the Middle East, buying Arabian horses 

from Bedouin tribesmen and the Egyptian Ali Pasha Sherif. Among the great and influential horses they took to England were Azrek, Dajania, Queen of Sheba, Rodania and the famous Ali Pasha Sherif stallion Mesaoud.

 

To this day, the vast majority of purebred Arabian horses trace their lineage to at least one Crabbet ancestor.

"it would be an interesting and useful thing to do and I should like much to try it."

Lady Anne Blunt

1837 - 1917

Lady Anne was a daughter of William King, 1st Earl of Lovelace and Ada King, Countess of Lovelace, the world's first computer programmer. Her maternal grandparents were the poet Lord Byron and Annabella Byron, 11th Baroness Wentworth. In childhood, she was known as "Annabella," after the grandmother for whom she was named.

 

Lady Anne was fluent in French, German, Italian, Spanish and Arabic, a skilled violinist and a gifted artist who studied drawing with John Ruskin. She also had a lifelong love of horses, dating from childhood, and was an accomplished equestrienne.

 

Her interest in the Arabian horse, combined with Wilfrid's interest in Middle Eastern politics, led to their mutual interest in saving the Arabian breed and thus their many journeys. The books Bedouin Tribes of the Euphrates and A Pilgrimage to Nejd are attributed to her and were based on her journals, but were extensively edited by her husband. Her own voice comes through more clearly in her published journals.

There are many fascinating books about Lady Anne and Wilfred Blunt, The Crabbet Stud and other stud of that era. Please visit our Books pages

Lady Anne and Wilfrid differed over management of their horses, with Wilfrid, though the less talented horseman, often prevailing on management decisions. At times, this meant leaving valuable bloodstock in Egypt under the care of inept managers who neglected the horses to the point that some died of exposure and thirst. In England, his theory that Arabian horses should live under "desert conditions", even in a cold, damp climate, often meant the animals lived with insufficient fodder and exposed to an unnecessary degree to the elements.

 

Blunt also had many mistresses, often simultaneously. However, in 1906, when his mistress Dorothy Carleton (later adopted as his niece) moved into their home, Lady Anne, unable to tolerate what she termed an "oriental" lifestyle, left him. The Blunts agreed to a formal separation and the Stud was divided. Lady Anne signed a Deed of Partition drawn up by Wilfrid. Under its terms, Lady Anne kept Crabbet Park and half the horses, while Blunt took Caxtons Farm, also known as Newbuildings, and the rest of the stock. Following the separation, Lady Anne spent several months each year at her Sheykh Obeyd estate near Cairo, a 32-acre (129,000 m²) apricot orchard the Blunts had purchased in 1882 and set up as a breeding farm for the horses they owned in Egypt. Her daughter Judith lived full-time at the Crabbet estate with her own husband and children. Finally, leaving the stud under the management of Judith, Lady Anne left England permanently in October 1915 and spent the remaining years of her life at Sheykh Obeyd until her death on 15th December 1917.

Sketch of Wilfrid and Lady Anne by Peter Upton

Lady Anne's 1869 marriage to Blunt was not a happy one. Her many pregnancies produced a single surviving child, Judith Blunt-Lytton, 16th Baroness Wentworth. Anne never ceased to grieve over her miscarriages and the babies who died soon after birth. Although a fond father to Judith when she was a child, Blunt made no secret that he would have preferred a son.

Lady Anne and Kasida

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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