Best remembered for her numerous publications detailing her travels in Afghanistan and the Middle East, this 20th-century travel writer also published personal memoirs and essays. Her most famous works include The Journey's Echo: Selected Travel Writings and The Southern Gates of Arabia: A Journey in the Hadhramaut.
As a child, she taught herself to read both French and Latin. Fascinated from a young age with the book Arabian Nights, she later learned the Arabic and Persian languages and attended the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies.
After World War II, she traveled to Turkey, documenting her journey in such books as The Lycian Shore and Ionia, a Quest.
Born in France and raised primarily in Italy, she was the daughter of an Italian, German, and Polish mother and an English artist father. In her fifties, she married diplomat, historian, and archaeologist Stewart Perowne.
As a member of the World War I-era Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) service, she served with an Italian-based ambulance corps headed by historian G.M. Trevelyan.