- Augustus John OM 1878–1961
- Oil paint on canvas
- Support: 800 x 597 mm
frame: 997 x 795 x 76 mm
- Presented by the Duke of Westminster 1920
N03566 COLONEL T. E. LAWRENCE 1919
Canvas, 31 1/2×23 1/2 (80×59).
Presented by the Duke of Westminster 1920.
Coll: Purchased by the Duke of Westminster at the Alpine Club Gallery 1920.
Exh: Alpine Club Gallery, March 1920 (8); Temple Newsam, Leeds, July–August 1946 (35).
Lit: John, 1952, pp.238, 244–7.
Repr: Exh. cat., British Council, Contemporary British Art, Warsaw, Helsingfors and Stockholm, 1939 (44); Mervyn Levy, Drawing and Painting for Young People, 1960, facing p.32 (in colour).
Better known as Lawrence of Arabia, T. E. Lawrence was born in 1888. During the 1914–18 war he became the driving force behind the Arabs' offensive and defensive movements against the Turks; after the war he recorded his Middle Eastern experiences in Seven Pillars of Wisdom. He joined the R.A.F. as an Aircraftman in 1922 under the name of T. E. Shaw, describing this period of his life in The Mint. He was killed in a motor-cycle accident in 1935.
It was during the Peace Conference of 1919 that John became friendly with Lawrence who was in Paris championing the cause of King Feisal and the Arabs. Lawrence enjoyed being painted and was always amused by the results. In a letter to John he referred to this portrait as the ‘rebellious’ or ‘wrathful’ one, and was amused that it ‘went off at top speed for a thousand to a Duke!’ Actually Lawrence himself wanted to buy this picture but the price was too high.
John painted two other portraits of Lawrence at this time; one of them, referred to by Lawrence as the ‘goody-goody one’, was exhibited with the Tate Gallery picture at the Alpine Club Gallery in 1920 (29), while the other John referred to as a ‘dud’. John did several drawings of Lawrence, and also painted portraits of him as Aircraftman Shaw at a later date.
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, I
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