Pitt Rivers Museum - Wilfred Thesiger

Thesiger Collection

Thesiger Collection
Wilfred Thesiger in Abu Dhabi, 1948. 2004.130.17291.1
Sir Wilfred Thesiger (1910-2003) was probably the greatest traveller of the twentieth century, and one of its greatest explorers. His travel writings, such as Arabian Sands (1959) and The Marsh Arabs (1964), have been hailed as classics of travel literature, and his later publications, such as Desert, Marsh and Mountain (1979), introduced many more people to his remarkable archive of photography spanning over fifty years of travel.

In 2004 his collection of 38,000 negatives and 71 personal albums were accepted by the UK government via its art in lieu of inheritance tax scheme and allocated to the Pitt Rivers Museum.

The Museum has organised several exhibitions of the collection since 1993. In June 2010 the Museum opened its most recent exhibition, ‘Wilfred Thesiger in Africa: A Centenary Exhibition’, accompanied by a major new publication Wilfred Thesiger in Africa (Harper Press).

In 2003-4 the Museum embarked on a cataloguing and digitization project with funding from the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates.

Thesiger in ArabiaOnline Resources

Photographs of Arabia by Wilfred Thesiger
Explore over 5000 photographs taken in Arabia by the renowned traveller and photographer Sir Wilfred Thesiger between 1945 and 1950, including his two famous crossings of the Empty Quarter (Rub' Al Khali), as memorably described in his classic travelogue Arabian Sands (1959). Go to the Photographs of Arabia website.

Over 1300 of Thesiger’s previously published and exhibited images are now available to view online and order as prints via www.prmprints.com

Publishers wishing to order high-resolution images and rights for images from the Thesiger collection can now do so via research services.