Friday, July 31, 2015

Lady Heather on Jane Dieulafoy

Iran city hits suffocating heat index of 165 degrees, near world record Washington Post

Images from Travellers

Even Sydney was rather pleasant on Friday night especially inside the Nicholson Museum (of the Sydney University fame) where a book launch took place examining the life of Jane Dieulafoy in Persia 1881-1886 ... A fine company, even finer food and finest drops of liquid from the Coriole Vineyards. While listening to fine speeches and sipping the wine no one could take their eyes off the lego ...

Heather Rossiter’s beautifully constructed and evocative work  will at last introduce to a much wider audience Jane Dieulafoy’s  singular tenacity, endurance and character, as well as her  remarkable Middle Eastern travels and descriptions of a now- vanished era in the history of Iran.
-Dr John Tidmarsh, Sydney University

The Louvre Museum, Paris, 20 October 1886

Jane Dieulafoy stood self-contained and poised as the President of the  French Republic pinned the cross of the Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur  to her jacket. ‘Outrageous,’ a woman whispered as applause filled the gallery. ‘Scandalous,’ whispered another. It was not Jane’s receiving the honour that upset them, but her dress, or,  rather, her suit – Jane had given up wearing dresses. Her perfectly tailored  plain trouser suit was in stark contrast to the waisted, frilled and trimmed  dresses, trains sweeping the floor, worn by the other women. As much as  Pierre-Auguste Renoir loved to paint them, and they were high fashion,  they were not for Jane. While fighting alongside her husband Marcel in  the Franco–Prussian War, riding for fourteen months along Persia’s dusty  tracks and, later, excavating the secrets of Susa, she had grown accustomed  to trousers. As she had explained to the Shah of Persia in the rose-scented  garden of the Golistan palace in Tehran, they were comfortable, practical  and they kept her safe.

The astonished shah had looked at the petite figure and exclaimed,  ‘What! That sweet boy is a woman?’ ‘Indeed, your Majesty,’

Colonel Dieulafoy replied proudly, ‘she is  Madame Dieulafoy, my dear wife.’
Sweet Boy Dear Wife  (Published by Wakefield Press)

Research scientist in the US and UK, teacher and vine-grower in Australia, Heather Rossiter's articles, book reviews and travel pieces have appeared in Australian and international publications. She was research consultant to the documentary, 'Mawson: Life and Death in Antarctica', screened on ABC and BBC TV in 2007 and her book, Lady Spy, Gentleman Explorer: The Life of Herbert Dyce Murphy was shortlisted for the ISAA Book Award 2002.
A passionate traveller, particularly to Russia and the Middle East to study archaeological sites and the arts of Islam, Heather lives in Sydney.
Heather Rossiter

Lady Heather Rossiter was speaking eloquently. You could have guessed from the way she was wearing her scarf that it wasn't her first time to Iran. I confirmed this assumption with the legendary question: "Is this your first visit to Iran?"
Lady Heather 

What do you think makes the legacy of Douglas Mawson and the other Antarctic explorers so enduring?
Well, that is a loaded question when you're talking to me, because my whole thesis is that Mawson went to the Antarctic and is remembered, but there were 30 other men who went down there too, they have been forgotten, if they have ever really been known. And Mawson is a great man, let us not dispute that. Great organisationl skills, courage and determination, but he had a lot of perosnal failings. One of the was that he would not stand for competition
Interview: Heather Rossiter