London: Privately Printed, 1926. First edition. Quarto (250 x 190 mm). Original tan morocco by Sangorski & Sutcliffe, title lettered in gilt to spine and front board, spine with five double bands, compartments gilt, gilt fillet panel to boards with geometric corner tooling in gilt, board edges and turn-ins ruled in gilt, edges gilt, pictorial endpapers by Eric Kennington. Additional plate by Blair Hughes-Stanton inserted before title; 66 plates printed by Whittingham & Griggs, including frontispiece portrait of Feisal by Augustus John, many coloured or tinted, 4 of them double-page, by Eric Kennington, William Roberts, Augustus John, William Nicholson, Paul Nash and others, 4 folding colour-printed maps, that is 2 maps duplicated, rather than the 3 mistakenly called for by O’Brien, 58 illustrations in text, one coloured, by Roberts, Nash, Kennington, Blair Hughes-Stanton, Gertrude Hermes and others. Historiated initials by Edward Wadsworth printed in red and black. Reproduction of a pencil portrait of Lawrence by Augustus John and a late 18th/early 19th-century hand-colored engraving entitled "Ein Kameel Artillerist" loosely inserted. Spine and extremities a little rubbed, small ink stain on front cover, some minor scattered foxing to contents, maps linen-reinforced at folds, frontispiece map creased and curled slightly, these flaws minor only, an excellent copy in an attractively restrained binding. Housed in a custom black morocco folding case.
One of the Cranwell or “Subscriber’s” edition, one of only five special copies with the additional Blair Hughes-Stanton wood-engraving, this an outstanding presentation copy from Lawrence to his friend Col. Robert Buxton, his former comrade-in-arms who arranged financing of the subscriber's edition, inscribed on the first blank: “R.V.B.'s own copy, which he specially deserves, having gone to war and helped to do the show, and then having gone to banking and financed all the history of the show - persuading his innocent Bank to stand an unknown and unprecedented risk, continuing for years. T.E. Shaw. December 1926”; with a later addition, also by him: “(and not yet ended, indeed. T.E.S. 1931).” The additional plate, a wood engraving to illustrate the dedicatory poem, proofed on India paper and mounted to face the title page, is signed and captioned by the artist.
Robert Vere “Robin” Buxton (1883-1953) met Lawrence in Arabia in August 1918, as commander of the Imperial Camel Corps. In a letter home during the latter part of the desert war, Buxton wrote of Lawrence: “He is the most wonderful of fellows and is our guide, philosopher, and friend. Although he is only a boy to look at and has a very quiet manner, he is known to every Arab in this country for his exploits. He lives entirely with them, wears their clothes, and eats only their food. He always travels in spotless white and in fact reminds one of the Prophet.” Lawrence guided Buxton and the Camel Corps on the first stage of the journey to their successful attack on Mudawara. In Lawrence's Seven Pillars, Buxton was described as “an old Sudan official, speaking Arabic, and understanding nomadic ways; very patient, good-humoured, sympathetic.” Buxton played a major role in the campaign which resulted in September 1918 in the cutting of the railway junction at Deraa, ensuring that no trains could run through to Damascus by the Turks. Buxton was a prominent Lombard Street banker, working at Martins Bank before the First World War where he returned as a director after 1919. After the war he served as Lawrence’s banker, “trying to keep some control on Lawrence’s chaotic finances.”
This is an exceptional copy of Lawrence’s sumptuously-produced account of his role in the Arab Revolt, bound by one of the seven binders chosen by Lawrence for the subscriber’s edition, and one of the 170 designated complete copies from a total edition of 211 copies, so inscribed by Lawrence on page XIX, “Complete copy. 1.XII.26 TES”, and with his manuscript correction to the illustration list (a “K” identifying Kennington rather than Roberts as the artist responsible for “The gad-fly”). Accompanying this copy is a review by Buxton of Robert Graves’s book Lawrence and the Arabs, annotated and initialed by Buxton. (Item #3988)