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West of Suez: Britain and the Mediterranean, 1704-1967

Sunshine and storm in the East

Cover design showing sunshine, a scroll, the sea and cloudsCover design by Gustave DoréIn November 1878 Annie, Lady Brassey (1839-87) spent three nights as the guest of the high commissioner, Sir Garnet Wolseley, at his headquarters at the ‘Monastery Camp’ outside the walls of Nicosia.

She had arrived in Cyprus on board the Sunbeam, a schooner with a 350 horsepower steam engine, in which she and her husband, the liberal politician Thomas Brassey (1836-1918), had previously circumnavigated the world.

Told in the form of journal entries detailing her experiences and impressions, and those of her crew, various companions, husband and children, her accounts of these cruises proved very popular when they were first published.

Here she gives an informative and entertaining picture of Cyprus shortly after it became a British possession, and one which domesticates and illuminates some of the names from the historical accounts.

The book is illustrated with wood engravings, some based on drawings by AY Bingham, and some from photographs taken by the author. The cover design reproduced here is by Gustave Doré. The conceit is explained in the Preface:

The good genii of the sea, pleased with the Sunbeam's frequent and lengthened visits to their ocean home, are spreading out before her a panorama of the world ...Constantinople and Cyprus being faintly indicated on the scroll.

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