KENNINGTON, Eric Henri. ‘Obeid el Raashid’. Fordingbridge: Castle Hill Press, 1997.

Colour print with calligraphic manuscript title and limitation, and printed artist’s name and imprint below (338 x 257mm). Cardboard mount, as issued (500 x 400mm). A fine copy.

No. 60 of 225. Obeid el Raashid (whose name was changed to Tafas el Raashid in the 1926 ‘Subscriber’s’ edition of Seven Pillars of Wisdom), was tasked by Sherif Ali with escorting Lawrence to meet his brother, Sherif Feisal: ‘[a]s a trustworthy man [Ali] chose out Tafas el Raashid, a Hawazim Harb tribesman, with his son, to guide me to Feisal’s camp. […] [H]e […] charged [Tafas] most stringently to keep me from questioning and curiosity on the way, and to avoid all camps and encounters’ (Seven Pillars of Wisdom (London, 1935), p. 76-77). Tafas offered instruction to the inexperienced Lawrence on how to ride his camel, which ‘was one of the few subjects on which he would speak. His orders to preserve me from contact with the world seemed to have closed even his mouth. A pity, for his dialect interested me’ (op. cit., p. 80).

When they arrived at their destination, ‘Tafas said something to a slave who stood there with silver-hilted sword in hand. He led me to an inner court, on whose further side, framed between the uprights of a black doorway, stood a white figure waiting tensely for me. I felt at first glance that this was the man I had come to Arabia to seek – the leader who would bring the Arab Revolt to full glory. Feisal looked very tall and pillar-like, very slender, in his long white silk robes and his brown head-cloth bound with a brilliant scarlet and gold cord. His eyelids were dropped; and his black beard and colourless face were like a mask against the strange, still watchfulness of his body. His hands were crossed in front of him on his dagger’ (op. cit., pp. 90-91).


Click here to read the introduction to Eric Kennington’s Arab Portraits.

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