Robert Byron

Robert Byron (1905--1941)

Robert Byron was a travel writer and architecture critic and historian of the 1930's. His opinions were always strong and good taste appalled him. But he was a considerable wag. Plump, blondish, an intellectual esthete with an explorer's toughness. Vehemently anti-totalitarian he occasionally made himself socially unwelcome such as when he followed an official's paean to the Munich agreement, by asking ``are you in German pay?'' His masterpiece is ``The Road to Oxiana'' about his trip through Cyprus, Palestine, Iraq, Iran, and Afganistan to view the masterpieces of antiquity. The Byzantine and the Islamic were his strong suit; classical art so much boredom. The locals took him and his friend Christopher Sykes for British spies. Not then, but when he was sunk off Scotland in 1941 he was indeed going on a mission of espionage. Like any good member of the Byron family of genius (Lord Byron, his daughter Ada Augusta, Countess of Lovelace), Robert Byron died at 36.




  1. The Road to Oxiana    1937, but taking place in 1933--1934.