London: [For the Author by Manning Pike and H.J. Hodgson, 1926]. First Edition. Extremely scarce privately printed edition, which was one of only 170 complete copies. Initialed for this reason by Lawrence at xix: "Complete copy i.xii.26 T.E.S" and with "Roberts" marked out and replaced with "K[ennington]." Additionally inscribed by Lawrence to his attorney regarding the book's publication: "E.G. Eliot from T.E. Lawrence with apologies for the trouble it is going to bring him. 30.XI.26." Original reddish-brown morocco gilt binding, raised bands, with top edge gilt and others uncut. Pictorial endpapers by Kennington. Slight rubbing to extremities but overall an excellent and complete copy with 65 lithographic plates and a striking frontispiece. As is often the case, the 'Prickly Pear' plate is present here, but not the two Paul Nash illustrations on pages 92 and 208, nor the Blair-Hughes-Stanton wood-engraving that illustrated the dedicatory poem in some copies.
A very rare presentation copy of the author's epic masterpiece, with a prescient inscription by Lawrence to his lawyer, warning him of potential legal problems following publication. A remarkably accurate military history interwoven with heroic adventure and spiritual insight, The Seven Pillars of Wisdom was itself an epic in its creation given Lawrence's multiple manuscripts and drafts that slowed the final release for almost a decade. During the process, Lawrence remained grateful to his subscribers and guaranteed that there would be no library or review copies in his lifetime; and he worked to ensure that each copy in the subscribers' edition would be unique. As Lawrence's inscription on this copy predicted, Edward G. Eliot would ultimately need to handle legal issues related to trust and tax arrangements connected to the book's release. An exceptional presentation copy.
This copy last sold at auction in 2012 at Bonhams for 50,450 pounds, roughly $80,000 at the historical exchange rate. Near Fine (Item #2128)