THE FINELY PRINTED FIRST EDITON OF A ‘MAJOR COLLECTION OF LETTERS BY LAWRENCE’

FROM THE LIBRARY OF LAWRENCE’S AUTHORISED BIOGRAPHER JEREMY WILSON

LAWRENCE, Thomas Edward. Letters to E.T. Leeds, with a Commentary by E.T. Leeds. Edited and with an Introduction by J.M. Wilson with a Memoir of E.T. Leeds by D.B. Harden & Illustrated with Line Drawings by Richard Kennedy. Andoversford: The Whittington Press, 1988.

Quarto (282 x 200mm), pp. xxii, [2 (editorial note, verso blank)], 140, [4 (colophon and 3 blank pp.)]. Title printed in brown and black. Mounted photographic frontispiece, 10 illustrations after Richard Kennedy printed in ochre, 9 full-page, illustrations in the text, 6 half-tone plates bearing illustrations recto-and-verso, some after Lawrence. Original cloth-backed boards by The Fine Bindery, spine lettered in gilt, upper board with design after Kennedy, original slipcase. (A few light scuffs and bumps on the slipcase.) A fine copy.ProvenanceJeremy Wilson(1944-2017, booklabel on upper pastedown; pencilled annotations on p. 15).

First edition, limited to 750 copies, this no. 27 of 650 bound in quarter buckram. A ‘major collection of letters by Lawrence [… which] are especially revealing of the Carchemish period’ (O’Brien), comprising fifty-three letters from Lawrence to Leeds (the Assistant to the Keeper of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford), dating from 1909 to 1935, and relating principally to archaeological matters (some thirty-six were written from Carchemish): ‘This new information is interesting enough in itself – but it is also extremely important in other ways. First, because it sheds new light on the early relationship between Lawrence and D.G. Hogarth, and, second, because it makes nonsense of the reasons suggested by some biographers for Lawrence’s appointment to the British Museum’s Carchemish excavations. The evidence is therefore immensely important’ (J.M. Wilson, quoted in the prospectus for the work). Interspersed between the letters are passages from a previously unpublished memoir of Lawrence, which Leeds wrote in 1938. 

This copy was formerly in the library of Jeremy Wilson, the editor of the work and T.E. Lawrence’s authorised biographer. Wilson has lightly annotated this copy in pencil on p. 15, marking off sections of text at 100-word intervals, possibly to calculate the space required for text set in 14-point Monotype Caslon (Caslon was Lawrence’s preferred typeface). 

Loosely-inserted in this volume is a printed notice on red card to request catalogues of Whittington Press publications, but it does not includethe loosely-inserted errata slip by Wilson dated 1990, which is found in some copies but not noted by either Butcher or O’Brien.

Butcher, The Whittington Press, 94 (‘one of the most important books that the Press had published to date’); O’Brien A263.

£700

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