View full screen - View 1 of Lot 93. LAWRENCE | Black wool and cotton Zebun, or outer robe, believed to have been owned by Lawrence.
93

LAWRENCE | Black wool and cotton Zebun, or outer robe, believed to have been owned by Lawrence

Margin Scheme

Estimate:

20,000

to
- 30,000 GBP

Property of a Distinguished Collector

LAWRENCE | Black wool and cotton Zebun, or outer robe, believed to have been owned by Lawrence

LAWRENCE | Black wool and cotton Zebun, or outer robe, believed to have been owned by Lawrence

Estimate:

20,000

to
- 30,000 GBP

Lot sold:

25,200

GBP

Property of a Distinguished Collector

[LAWRENCE, T.E.]


Hand-woven black wool and cotton zebun, or outer robe


135cm from neck to hem, embroidered to the neck openings and sleeve seams in couched gold, green and purple silks, of simple T-shaped construction with joined panel forming the lower skirt, with wrap-over button and loop fastening


[with:] Metal engine plate, 24 x 33cm, cast in Turkish script with the initials "HYT", the ground painted scarlet


[also with:] Vyvyan Richards, Portrait of T.E. Lawrence. Cape, 1937. 8vo, first edition, inscribed by the author to Clifford Jones, 3 July 1936; envelope of press cuttings, 1936-37


[also with:] signed affidavit by Veronica Latham, confirming that these items had been given by Vyvyan Richards to his friend Clifford Jones, and that they were given in turn by Jones's wife to Mrs Latham's late husband in the 1950s, signed and dated 6 March 1996


"...If you wear Arab things, wear the best. Clothes are significant among the tribes, and you must wear the appropriate, and appear at ease in them. Dress like a Sherif, if they agree to it..." (T.E. Lawrence, from 'Twenty-seven Articles', 1917)


Lawrence famously wore Arab dress during the Arab Revolt, although he had first discovered how well suited the costume was to desert life when excavating at Carchemish in Syria in the years before World War I. His adoption of Arab dress was practical but also crucial to his mission, which required that he have the trust of the Arab people. In a letter to Vyvyan Richards, who once owned this robe, he described his life during the Arab Revolt as being on "a kind of foreign stage, on which one plays day and night, in fancy dress, in a strange language with the price of failure on one's head if the part is not well filled." (15 July 1918, quoted in Brown, Lawrence: the Selected Letters, p.149) Towards the end of the war he tended to wear more elaborate costume and several photographs from 1917-18 depict Lawrence in an embroidered black outer robe similar to this one. By the time he returned to Europe after the war, Lawrence had assembled a substantial collection of contemporary Arab dress and he made a number of gifts to friends and family. Items of Arab dress from Lawrence' collection are now found at institutions including the Ashmolean museum, Oxford, All Souls College, Oxford, the Museum of Costume, Bath, and the National Army Museum (see Jeremy Wilson, Lawrence of Arabia, (National Portrait Gallery Publications, 1988), nos 105, 106, 108, 112, 113, and 114).


This outer rob, or zebun, would have been worn over a full-length thawb. It belonged to Vyvyan Richards (1886-1968). Richards had fallen in love with Lawrence when they were both undergraduates at Oxford but his feelings were never reciprocated and the relationship developed instead into a lifelong friendship. The two men had a longstanding plan to start a private press together, Richards kept Lawrence's books and some other belongings at his home in Epping Forest in the years after the war. Richards was one of the first readers of Seven Pillars of Wisdom in 1923. His admiring biography of his friend, A Portrait of T.E. Lawrence, was published in 1937.


PROVENANCE:

Sotheby's, Important European and Oriental Costumes, London, 7 November 1996, lot 143

Condition is described in the main body of the cataloguing, where appropriate


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.