Lot 66
  • 66

Lawrence, T. E.

5,000 - 7,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Autograph letter signed ("TE Shaw") completing the order for George VII — the brough superior motorcycle on which he was killed
  • ink,paper
1 page (8 1/4 x 6 1/2 in.; 210 x 160 mm). Myrtle Cottage, Southampton, 7 February, 1932, to George Brough, maker of bespoke motorcycles; (minor creasing and folding). Matted and framed with a photograph of Lawrence astride a motorcycle.

Catalogue Note

Lawrence was an incredibly dedicated motorcyclist, using it as an escape from the pressures of his celebrity from Seven Pillars and the expectations for his next act. It was not unusual for him to ride 500 miles or more in a day. His preferred bike was the Brough Superior, the most advanced model on the road and capable of speeds in excess of 100 mph. Each bike was built by hand in the workshops of George Brough and cost approximately 150 sterling, a decent yearly income for many in Britain at the time. Lawrence was effusive in his praise for the bikes, writing in 1927: "Yesterday I completed 100,000 miles since 1922 on five successive Brough Superiors … thank you for the road pleasure I got out of them … your present machines are as fast and reliable as express trains, and the greatest fun in the world."

At the time of the present letter he had been riding, and no doubt riding as hard as ever, a Brough Superior (George VI), since 1929.

Lawrence successively owned eight Brough cycles named "George,"  and here he orders George VII, the last he was to take delivery of and ride: "I have 80 already, and can get the balance shortly, I think. It is a very good offer, for my present bike is very rusted and chatttery. It hasn't been down and is quite good running yet : but looks its age, fully. The only perfect thing is the tank, which can be transferred to George VII, if you are short of Staybrite tanks."

Lawrence continues to inquire on different valves (he prefers Woods over Schraders) and the ease of transferring his insurance from George VI to the new George VII when complete.

At the time Lawrence was killed on George VII in 1935, sustaining head injuries from being thrown over his bike's handlebars after swerving to avoid two boys in the road, he was awaiting the delivery of George VIII.