Thesiger's Journeys in Arabia - Dubai to Bahrain 1948

2004_130_17262_1-P2004_130_17262_1-PJourney dates: May 18 – June 10, 1948

This series of images follows Wilfred Thesiger's passage on an Arabian dhow from the port city of Dubai to Bahrain Island, at the end of six months of travel in the Arabian Pennisula. Although it was much easier to fly from Sharja to Bahrain, Thesiger sought out a captain who would take him as a passenger on one of the many trading vessels that ply the Persian Gulf coast. Some of the highlights of this series include early images of Tashan's Al Khamis Mosque, portraits of Iranian porters working in Dubai, and images of porters unloading coral along Manama beach.

Reflecting on this journey in Arabian Sands, Thesiger saw this passage as a purposeful statement against modernity and the expectations of change, materialism, accessibility, and immediacy that modernity encompassed: 'I have always hated machines...' he wrote, 'the harder the way the more worth while the journey.' (259-260)

Locations: Dubai City, Persian Gulf, Bahrain Island, Tashan, Manama.

Named Individuals: Ahmed, Haji Mansur, Ali, Sheikh Mubarak bin Muhammad

Represented Cultural Groups: Iranian


Wilfred Thesiger, 1948. Personal Letters (Collection of Eton College Library).

Wilfred Thesiger, 1960. Arabian Sands, Longmans, Green and Co Ltd: London.