LAWRENCE, T.E. ~ The Seven Pillars of Wisdom. A Triumph.
Subscribers’ or ‘Cranwell’ edition being one of only 170 complete copies, inscribed ‘Complete copy 1.XII.26, TES’ by Lawrence in ink on p. xix, together with his ink correction of the artist for ‘The gad-fly’ plate from Roberts to ‘K’[ennington]. Frontispiece portrait of King Feysal, 66 plates (mostly colour) & text illustrations after Roberts, Eric Kennington, Paul Nash, Blair Hughes-Stanton, Nicholson and others, decorative initials by Edward Wadsworth, endpapers by Kennington, 4 linen backed folding maps. Here is included the ‘Prickly Pear’ plate not called for in the list of illustrations but, as usual, doesn’t have the Nash line drawings as called for in the list on pp.92 and 208. Printed in red and black. In this copy page xv is mispaginated as viii.
4to., in a handsome contemporary full scarlet morocco binding with gilt fillets across each spine band reaching points on each side with triple leaf tools, spine in compartments with raised bands lettered in gilt in the second compartments, top edges gilt, others untrimmed, a little darkening in places to the spine but still a very attractive copy housed in a later matching rose morocco and linen cloth solander box. O’Brien notes that copies were bound differently by several different binders.
A very handsome copy of Lawrence’s epic masterpiece and stuff of legend in which he reveals’ by sheer willpower he made history (Oxford DNB). Following his astonishing diplomatic and military career in ARabia and with legendary standing in the public imagination, TE Lawrence bought his Dorset retreat Cloud’s Hill in 1924 in order to finish his account of the war which became Seven Pillars of Wisdom. This was his second draft of the book, the first he finished in November 1919 but, according to TEL, he lost it on Reading Station. He finished the second draft in 1922 and after much work, the book finally appeared in this private edition in 1926 after a painful birth reflecting his passion for fine printing and illustration.
The book describes a gruelling campaign which is concluded by the Arab liberation of Damascus which he views as a triumph, as shown by the books subtitle, and vindicated his faith in the Arabs.
Booklabel of the collector Felix Dennis dated 2009.