LAWRENCE | Autograph letter signed, to Sir William Orpen, 26 December 1919
Property of a Distinguished Collector
LAWRENCE | Autograph letter signed, to Sir William Orpen, 26 December 1919
Lot Closed
LAWRENCE | Autograph letter signed, to Sir William Orpen, 26 December 1919
LAWRENCE | Autograph letter signed, to Sir William Orpen, 26 December 1919
LAWRENCE | Autograph letter signed, to Sir William Orpen, 26 December 1919
95

LAWRENCE | Autograph letter signed, to Sir William Orpen, 26 December 1919

Estimate: 3,000 - 5,000 GBP
Property of a Distinguished Collector

LAWRENCE | Autograph letter signed, to Sir William Orpen, 26 December 1919

Estimate: 3,000 - 5,000 GBP
Lot sold:4,032GBP
(4 bids, reserve met)

Description

Property of a Distinguished Collector

LAWRENCE, T.E.


Autograph letter signed, to Sir William Orpen


commenting wryly on an article about himself by Lowell Thomas, which he compares to a piece on Orpen in the same issue of Strand magazine, tabulating the terms used to describe both men, balancing "A great painter" against a "A great camel driver"; "Luxury-stable clerk" against "Prince of Mecca"; "Dainty little dreamer" against "Born strategist"; "Cheery little Irishman" against "A Great White God"; "yearning unsatisfiable sadness" against "upper middle class"; "Stimulating after dinner" against "A caliph in disguise", and others, concluding that "Yours seems to me a very faithful portrait" and hoping that "my friends will all see me to the life in this article about me", 2 pages, 8vo, Oxford, 26 December 1919


A REMARKABLE LETTER MOCKING HIS OWN LEGEND, capturing Lawrence's ambivalence to fame. Lawrence mocks the effusions of Thomas's article but also points out that "There are to be four or five more: for while you can copyright a picture you cannot copyright yourself, and it takes a lot of paper to make a full-length of a thing like me". This letter was written as Lawrence was first finding fame through Lowell Thomas, whose stage shows, lectures, and journalism, culminating in With Lawrence in Arabia (1924), did so much to establish the legend of "Lawrence of Arabia". 


Lawrence and Orpen had met at the Paris Peace Conference; Orpen's portrait of Lawrence was described by Robert Graves as showing "a sort of street urchin furtiveness". At the time this letter was written, however, Lawrence had returned, bitterly disappointed, from Paris and was lodged at All Souls College working on Seven Pillars of Wisdom. This letter came just weeks after the infamous occasion when Lawrence had lost his manuscript when changing trains at Reading station, and he was in the midst of writing the second version of the book. THIS LETTER IS APPARENTLY UNPUBLISHED.


PROVENANCE:

Phillips, 11 June 1999, lot 262

Condition Report

Traces of mounting on the final verso


The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colors and shades which are different to the lot's actual color and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation. The condition report is a statement of opinion only. For that reason, the condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE/BUSINESS APPLICABLE TO THE RESPECTIVE SALE.