‘Tessa Henderson is irrepressible proof that the package holiday will never oust the intrepid traveller’

In 1985  Tessa was given her most ambitious assignment to date. she was approached by Lady Hunt, wife of the late Sir David Hunt, herself a Cypriot, who, after commissioning a portrait of her house in Sussex, asked Tessa to undertake the task of making a collection of drawings of Cypriot buildings showing the varied architectural styles that exist on the island.

‘I was given an air ticket, a list of buildings to find, some funds and letters of introduction, and I was off. It was quite a frightening experience; the minute I boarded the plane however this fear gave way to an exhilarating sense of adventure. So many people right from the start, volunteered information and help’

One newspaper at the time described her as setting out on a trip that took her from almost deserted villages trapped in time to a street – by – street survey of Nicosia.

‘I covered 1000 miles  – much of it on dirt roads – and spent hair – raising moments getting lost and trying not to run out of petrol or have a flat tyre as I didn’t know how to change one.’

Even a sprained ankle did not stop her hopping with a stick up to a magnificent crusader castle perched on a hilltop.

Teaming up with Ian Robertson who was on the island revising the ‘Blue Guide to Cyprus’ at the time, allowed Tessa to visit the northern part of the island to complete the list of buildings and monuments she needed to see. Some of her photographs and drawings have been used in that revised edition.

Two sketchbooks and 1500 photographs later, she had to settle down and make the finished drawings.

It was hard drawing on the spot because of people’s understandable curiosity’

It took her two years. The result  was a collection of highly intricate pencil drawings of Byzantine churches, Crusader castles, archaeological sites, Gothic cathedrals, monasteries, streets and houses. They were exhibited  with the sponsorship of the Bank of Cyprus at the Royal Institute of British Architects in the spring of 1988, and subsequently at the Royal Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh. Some of the drawings have been used in  ‘Footprints in Cyprus’,  ‘Gothic Art and the Renaissance in Cyprus’,& ‘Caterina Cornaro, Queen of Cyprus,  [Trigraph.]

On being interviewed  at the time, Tessa said

‘I always keep a sketchbook in my pocket and I like doing quick watercolour washed drawings with commentaries. Now I’d like to do some sort of travelogue, impressions perhaps while on a train. It would be marvellous to be sponsored for something like this on the Orient Express or the Trans-Siberian Railway, and I’d like to travel through China.’