Eric Kennington

Muttar il Hamoud min Beni Hassan


Pastel on paper
Support: 770 x 566 mm
frame: 1010 x 810 x 60 mm
Presented by T.E. Lawrence 1922

Catalogue entry

Inscr. “Muttar il Hamoud min Beni Hassan (Ibn Gallat Section) 14’ t.r.
Pastel on brown paper, 30 1/4×22 (77×56).
Presented by T. E. Lawrence 1922.
Coll: Given by the artist to T. E. Lawrence.
Exh: Leicester Galleries, October 1921 (2); (?) Paintings, Pastels, Drawings and Woodcuts illustrating Col. T. E. Lawrence's book ‘Seven Pillars of Wisdom’, Leicester Galleries, February 1927 (32).
Lit: E. H. Kennington, Drawing the R.A.F., 1942, p.15.
Repr: T. E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom, 1926 (in colour), following text as ‘Matar’; Sir John Rothenstein, British Art since 1900, 1962, pl.43.

The artist wrote (9 April 1958) that the sitter was an Agoyle of Lawrence's chosen bodyguard, drawn in a war camp in western Arabia 1920. Sir Ronald Storrs in his Foreword to Drawing the R.A.F. describes how the artist first met Lawrence and undertook to go to Arabia and draw the portraits for Seven Pillars of Wisdom. He was forbidden to read the book before making the portraits and when he brought these back to London Lawrence was delighted and wrote: ‘I first saw one and then another of the men whom I had known and at once I learned to know them better. This may point indirectly to the power of the drawings and it points without contest to their literary completeness. There is quite admirable character here.’ Kennington undertook to supervise the reproductions for Seven Pillars of Wisdom and in fact spent about two years as artistic editor of the book. He also drew a head of Muttar il Hamoud, which may have been the work exhibited at the Leicester Galleries in 1927.

Published in:
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, I