Mabel as photographer

Mabel developed her photographic interests in the 1880s during the couple’s early visits to Greece and the eastern Mediterranean and for most of their journeys, Mabel was the intrepid field photographer: very much a pioneer in her way, she was forced to process her glass plates and fragile films in makeshift ‘darkrooms’ in the most difficult of conditions; the pages of her diaries contain countless references to the difficulties she faced as an early travel photographer.

Here is Mabel’s photograph taken on Socotra in 1897, a few months before Theodore’s death in May of that year in London.

Breakwater at Fereghet
Theodore Bent and Ernest Bennett (seated left) at the ‘breakwater’ at ‘Feréghe’, Socotra. From Southern Arabia, facing page 383. From a photograph by Mabel Bent. Photo: private collection.

Back home, Theodore used Mabel’s photographs as lantern slides for his lectures – but unfortunately only a very limited archive has survived the years. A few glass slides are in a collection held by the Royal Geographical Society, London.

Please do contact us at if you have or are aware of any original photographic material by Mabel!