Shah of Persia

Twice in Sirens Bloom thinks of the "Shah of Persia," who made three state visits to the U.K. in the 1870s and 80s. Many stories perpetuated memories of his trips to London, including two that Bloom recalls: an amusing anecdote of his supposedly preferring the tuning up of an orchestra to anything in the concert that followed, and another one in which he was said to have wiped his nose on the curtains in Buckingham Palace. The stories were condescending and possibly untrue, but Bloom responds sympathetically.

John Hunt 2023

Photograph of Naser al-Din Qajar, Shah of Persia, date unknown.
Source: Wikimedia Commons.

1889 illlustration in The Graphic of the Shah on his European tour, seated between the Princess of Wales and her sister, the Tsesarevna of Russia, at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Illustration of the Shah at the Royal Italian Opera in the 2 July 1873 Illustrated London News. Source: