Lot 116
  • 116

[Lawrence, T.E.]

50,000 - 70,000 GBP
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  • Seven Pillars of Wisdom. A Triumph. [Privately Printed, 1926]
  • paper
THE SUBSCRIBER'S OR 'CRANWELL' EDITION, ONE OF 170 COMPLETE COPIES (INSCRIBED BY THE AUTHOR 'COMPLETE COPY | I.XII.26 T.E.S.'), 4to (254 x 190mm.), SIGNED BY ALLENBY on the title 'ALLENBY | F.M.' and on the blank recto of the introduction to chapter one 'ALLENBY | F.M. | DECEMBER, 1926,' frontispiece portrait of King Feisal after Augustus John and 65 plates (mostly in colour, including a portrait of Allenby), text illustrations after Roberts, Kennington, Nash, Nicholson and others, 4 folding coloured maps, decorative initials by Edward Wadsworth, original full crimson morocco possibly by Sangorksi & Sutcliffe (but not signed), spine in six compartments with raised bands, lettered in gilt in the second, endpapers by Kennington, top edge gilt, others uncut, buckram folding box, expertly rebacked retaining original spine, extremities very slightly rubbed, spine slightly sunned


Field Marshal Edmund Allenby, 1st Viscount Allenby, GCB, GCMG, GCVO (1861-1936)


O'Brien A040; J. Wilson. Lawrence of Arabia (London, 1989)


Condition is described in the main body of the cataloguing, where appropriate.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.

Catalogue Note

A MAJOR ASSOCIATION COPY OF LAWRENCE'S EPIC MASTERPIECE, FROM THE LIBRARY OF GENERAL SIR EDMUND ALLENBY. Allenby took command of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force in June 1917 and in Cairo met Lawrence shortly after his victory against the Ottoman forces at Aqaba. Allenby appointed Prince Feisal as an army commander, and Lawrence became the key link between Allenby and the Arabs. This gave Lawrence considerable influence on Arab action in the north, which contributed to the capture of Jerusalem in December 1917, and in the following year the defeat of the remaining Turkish Army in Palestine.

Allenby’s enthusiastic response to his reading of Seven Pillarsis recorded in a letter he wrote to Lawrence on 22 January 1927: "I congratulate you on a great work; fit record of your splendid achievements in the war. I am grateful for the kind way in which you refer to my part in our collaboration, and am happy to think that to our unity of thought and intention can be attributed, in great measure, the success obtained." (Wilson, p.779)

'What Robertson called ‘an adventurous and successful’ foray made Lawrence's reputation as a resourceful and daring commander. The new commander-in-chief of the expeditionary force, Sir Edmund Allenby, judged Lawrence as ‘a very fine soldier’ and the ‘best man for the job’ (Durham University Library, Sudan Archive, Wingate papers, 146/1, p. 7). Allenby was impressed by his plans for the future of Arab revolt. Feisal's tribal forces and units of the growing Hejazi regular army, supported by allied specialist and technical units, including British aircraft, armoured cars, and a French mountain battery, would tie down local Turkish forces through sorties against the Damascus–Medina railway. Allenby's South African experience had taught him the corrosive effect of guerrilla warfare and he welcomed an operation that required tiny numbers of British troops and provided an invaluable diversion for his forthcoming offensive.

Lawrence established a warm personal and professional rapport with the volatile Bull Allenby based upon shared interests in archaeology and natural history. A practical soldier, Allenby appreciated a clear-headed officer who delivered what was needed. Lawrence's intrigues at Damascus in October 1918 and his post-war career made the general revise his opinions. He once remarked: ‘I had a dozen chaps who could have done the job better’ (King's Lond., Liddell Hart C., Edmonds papers, III, 2, 15; Barrow, 215). After Lawrence's death Allenby did, however, deliver a glowing tribute on the BBC.' (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography)