Jenny Balfour Paul

Deeper Than Indigo: Tracing Thomas Machell, Forgotten Explorer

Friday 16th September 2016

Jenny Balfour Paul
Deeper Than Indigo, Jenny Balfour Paul

Praised by A.N. Wilson as ‘one of the most remarkable books I have ever read’, Jenny Balfour Paul’s Deeper Than Indigo is an enchanting read that encompasses biography, memoir, history and travelogue. After discovering the illustrated journals of forgotten Victorian explorer Thomas Machell in the British Library, the author embarked on a quest to retrace his footsteps from his ancestral home in Northern England to remote parts of the Middle East and Asia.

Beautifully documented with illustrations and stories, Deeper Than Indigo follows Machell’s tracks to the city of Calcutta, indigo plantations in rural Bengal and Bangladesh, coffee estates in Kerala’s Malabar hills and by sea from India to Egypt with Muslim merchants. Inspired by their shared passion for indigo, travel and adventures, Jenny voyages aboard the last freighter to take passengers from the UK to India, facing the same threat of pirate attack in the Red Sea as Machell many decades earlier. She also follows in his wake by cargo ship to the most remote Polynesian islands, seeks his colourful descendants in the New World and tries to find where her soul mate and spirited outsider was laid to rest.

Jenny Balfour Paul is a writer, artist, lecturer and intrepid traveller. Author of two books on indigo, she was consultant curator for the Whitworth’s touring exhibition, Indigo, A Blue to Dye For. She is an honorary research fellow at Exeter University and a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.

Jenny will be in conversation with host Carol Ackroyd.