During her lifetime the name of Gertrude Bell evoked rich images of the exotic and mysterious Arab world. But her fame faded and now she is remembered only as a friend and colleague of T.E. Lawrence. She was an intrepid traveller, journeying alone through the deserts of the Middle East or scaling testing peaks in the Swiss Alps. Later, as a British political officer in Baghdad, where she died and is buried, she was able to play a considerable role in determining the future of Mesopotamia, later to be called Iraq.