Gertrude Bell, CBE (1868 - 1926) was a writer, traveller, political officer, archaeologist and spy who travelled extensively throughout Syria, Mesopotamia, Asia Minor and Arabia. Along with T. E. Lawrence, Bell helped establish the Hashemite dynasties in what is today Jordan and Iraq. She played a major role in the birth of the modern state of Iraq, using the perspective gained from her travels and relations with tribal leaders in the Middle East. "In British diplomatic group photographs of the early 20th-century Middle East, amid the plumes and uniforms and the calm paraphernalia of an empire going to hell in a bucket, there is often a solitary female. The woman is slim, with a head of luxuriant hair, and neatly dressed in billowing muslins or in the pencil silhouette and cloche hats of jazz-age Baghdad. The woman is Gertrude Bell." James Buchan, Guardian.