Lot 83
  • 83

[Lawrence, T.E.]

40,000 - 60,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • [Lawrence, T.E.]
  • Seven Pillars of Wisdom. A Triumph. [Privately Printed, 1926]
  • paper
4to (252 x191mm.), THE SUBSCRIBER'S OR 'CRANWELL' EDITION, ONE OF 170 COMPLETE COPIES (inscribed by the author "Complete copy | 1.xii.26 T.E.S." on list of illustrations and "Roberts" crossed through and replaced with "K[ennington]"), PRESENTATION COPY INSCRIBED BY LAWRENCE TO HIS SOLICITOR EDWARD ELIOT ("E.G. Eliot | from | T.E. Lawrence | with apologies for | the trouble it is | going to bring him. | 30.XI.26"), printed in red and black, frontispiece portrait of King Feisal after Augustus John, 4 folding colour maps and 61 plates (many in colour, two double-page) by Kennington, Roberts, Augustus John, William Nicholson, Paul Nash and others (with the "Prickly Pear" plate but not the Nash illustrations on p.92 and p.208 nor the Hughes-Stanton wood-engraving, as often), text illustrations after Roberts, Kennington, Nash and others, decorative initials by Edward Wadsworth, illustrated endpapers by Kennington, original full reddish-brown morocco (probably by Sangorski and Sutcliffe), spine in six compartments with raised bands, top edge gilt, very slight rubbing to extremities of binding


the Hon. Edward G. Eliot, authorial presentation inscription; inherited by his son Peter Charles Eliot, 1950; presented to unknown owner (sale, Bonhams, 27 March 2012, lot 201)


O'Brien A040; Clements p.49

Catalogue Note

A VERY RARE PRESENTATION COPY OF THE AUTHOR'S EPIC MASTERPIECE, WITH A PRESCIENT INSCRIPTION BY LAWRENCE TO HIS LAWYER, warning him of potential legal problems following publication. Edward G. Eliot was joint Trustee of the Revolt in the Desert charitable trust. Lawrence was of course very familiar with legal and copyright issues, and intricate and complex publishing arrangements, often seemingly of his own making, relating to the publication of this and other of his works.

In the event, it was dealing with the tax demands from the Inland Revenue arising out of Lawrence's complex Trust arrangements which would consume Eliot's time in the years ahead. Lawrence had promised to his subscribers that he would take no money from the publication of Seven Pillars; later he was to create a separate trust (the Anonymous Education Fund) for the copyright of Revolt in the Desert, to benefit children of disabled or deceased RAF officers. In 1931 the Inland Revenue made a claim for income tax on the fund, and there followed an enormous amount of negotiation and correspondence between the revenue and Lawrence's representatives, with E.G. Eliot at the centre, to resolve the issue. The appeal on behalf of Lawrence against the claim seems to have been lost in 1932. The fund, however, later renamed the Lawrence of Arabia Fund, continued to operate and by 1935 was educating thirteen children a year. It remains part of the RAF Benevolent Fund to this day. See Andrew Simpson, Another Life: Lawrence after Arabia.