Time at the Fitz: Dr Winifred Lamb and the Shahnameh

Darkness creeps in at four o’clock everyday and I really wouldn’t mind hibernating around about now. Yoga was tough on Monday evening – fun at the time but afterwards the aches kick in! We had a new teacher – Paula – who had a very fluid style and we moved from position to position as if we were dancing. Yesterday I met up with Nic in our old haunt – The Fort St George – it’s always so quiet and peaceful there mid week.

Today I went to a very interesting talk about Dr Winifred Lamb the Honorary Keeper of Antiquities at the Fitz between 1920 and 1958. Educated at Cambridge, she went to work for the Admiralty during WW1 in Room 40. A well off only child she developed an in interest in collecting ancient vases and this passion led to her being offered the position of Honorary Keeper of Greek and Roman Antiquities at the Fitz. Simultaneously she spent time out in Greece on archaeological digs and became a pioneering force; leading her own digs and searching for sites to excavate in rural Turkey. The first dig she ran herself was on Lesbos and she was later awarded a PhD for her work there.
The speaker Dr Kate Cooper was very engaging and the 45 minutes passed by in a flash.

In the 30 minutes between collecting the token for the talk and the start I occupied myself by going to the exhibition ‘Epic of the Persian Kings: The Art of Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh’. It’s the sort that needs a great deal of time and a systematic approach. It would also help to have a brief history of the Shahnameh a poetical epic about the myths, legends and history of Persia before the Islamic conquest. The old manuscripts and books on display have the most beautiful pictures and calligraphy and there is a hushed dimness in the room that makes you feel you’ve stepped back in time.

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