14 August 2010

Thesiger's Tribe

"Since Thesiger lived much of his life among foreign tribes, it is apposite to examine the nature of the tribe into which he himself was born in 1910. First of all, it was a tribe. The British aristocracy was socially exclusive, highly interbred, and despite being imbued with the ideals of duty, loyalty and service, owed allegiance to itself rather than to an abstract idea of 'Britain'. It might be said that for them, 'Britain' was the aristocracy, irrespective of the fact that they represented only 2 per cent of its population. In 1910 they were still distinguishable physically from the other classes: they were taller, more robust, and possessed a distinctive similarity of physical cast--jutting chins, oriental cheekbones, kedge-like noses, deep-set eyes. They were set apart, too, by the elegance of their attire, for in a world without dry-cleaning only the toff could afford to have his suit unstitched and the parts washed piecemeal."

Thesiger, Michael Asher (1994)


brohammas said...

Thesiger, regardless of tribe or origin, was truly admirable.
Admirable in his own right.

Anonymous said...

Great description of the archetypal Keltic Nordic British look.

Des Esseintes said...


I am sure you are aware of the collection of Thesigers' travel photographs at the Pitt Rivers Museum?