New RAS events series underway

Rebecca Snow restoring a drawing from the RAS Tod Collection: the Temple of Rana Mokal, Chitor

We are very excited to hold the next RAS Collections Open Evening on Tuesday 21 November. Like our previous Open Evening earlier this year, the event will feature several talks highlighting different aspects of the RAS Collections, showcasing their impact and potential for research, as well as how they are being cared for and catalogued. The Open Evening will feature presentations from:

  • Professor Tony Stockwell, Vice-President of the RAS
  • Dr Roger Parsons, longstanding volunteer working with the RAS Collections, who will talk about his experience cataloguing the Rawlinson Archive
  • Rebecca Snow, conservator, who will discuss her project to conserve the drawing Temple of Rana Mokal, Chitor, as part of her MA in Conservation at Camberwell College of Arts
  • Peter Collin, member of RAS Council, who will discuss how delving into the RAS archive has enabled his research into the early members of the Society, as well as the new insights on the Society’s history this has made possible

The Open Evening will begin at 6.30pm and, in addition to the presentations, it will include a reception and a display of rarely-seen material from the collections. Fittingly, the Open Evening is taking place during the annual launch week for ‘Explore Your Archive’, a campaign dedicated to showing off the potential of archives across the British Isles. All are welcome to join our Open Evening, but please RSVP to Amy Riach at so we know what numbers to expect.

The RAS Lecture series for 2017-2018 is now underway, and last night (Thursday 12 October) attendees were able to enjoy a lecture from Russell Harris (Institute of Ismaili Studies) titled “A Journal of Three Months’ Walk in Persia in 1884, by Captain John Compton Pyne”. Pyne was a British soldier, who decided to make a crossing of Persia after finishing his tour of duty in India. Pyne was unaccompanied except by local muleteers, but he took with him a small leather-bound sketchbook which he used to keep a journal, and to record his observations in the form of watercolor illustrations.

Russell Harris delivers his lecture

The sketchbook was recently re-discovered and has now been published, showing how Pyne fits into our understanding of the Persian influence on British culture in the mid-Victorian period. Russell’s rich and wide-ranging lecture was followed by a discussion, with a reception preceding the lecture.

The next event in the RAS Lecture series takes place on Tuesday 24 October at 6.30pm, when Professor Francis Robinson (Royal Holloway), Marion Molteno, and Dr. Rakhshanda Jalil, will introduce the new edition of Ralph Russell’s Anthology of Urdu Literature: A Thousand Yearnings. We hope you will be able to join us.