Philippa Scott (1946–2023)

By Lindsay Fulcher | January 30, 2023

It was with great sadness that I heard the news that my beautiful, intelligent, rebellious friend Philippa Scott had died. Her delicate Pre-Raphaelite looks belied a determined, fearless and independent spirit that took her on dangerously exotic journeys to the Near East and beyond.

Born in India, her early childhood was spent on a Dooars tea estate in Darjeeling, and her school years were passed in the Scottish Highlands. After school, she applied for a job driving overland tours from London to India. The only thing she regretted during these long and often dangerous journeys was, she said, that she never went over the Khyber Pass. It was during this time that she fell in love with Turkey, a country she went on to visit regularly and to write about during her life. She lived in Paris and in Ireland for a few years, but she was usually to be found at her gloriously decorated Elgin Crescent flat. Who can forget her stylish dinner parties there (Philippa was a generous hostess and a marvellous cook) at which writers, artists and travellers gathered and over which she presided, dressed in a 19th-century embroidered Ottoman velvet kaftan or a 1920s’ Fortuny silk gown? It was a privilege and a delight to have known her.

She wrote articles for AramcoWorld, Hali, Cornucopia, Country Life, Food and Travel, and many other magazines. Her books include: Gourmet Game, The Book of Silk, Turkish Delights and The Bakewell Ottoman Garden. She also contributed to many other books including: India of the Rajahs, Meetings With Remarkable Muslims, Syria Through Writers' Eyes, Reflections of Paradise, The Silk Road– a Guide and The English Woman's Kitchen. In her last years she was writing a memoir, Land of the Unicorn –  it was for her grandson, Jack. I wonder if she finished it...

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