LAWRENCE, THOMAS EDWARD (1888-1935, 'Lawrence of Arabia')
PORTRAIT BY ERIC KENNINGTON (1880-1960), collotype, head half turned to the right, known as the 'Ghost Portrait', number 59 of 100 copies, printed label on back of frame signed by Kenniington, printed by the University Press, Oxford, with a calligraphic label 'Colonel T.E. Lawrence he served for many years at R.A.F. Calshot as Aircraftsman T.E. Shaw' also on the back, framed and glazed, size of image 18 x 14 inches (46 x 37 cm), overall size 26 x 22 inches (67.5 x 54.5 cm), 1935
THE GHOST PORTRAIT by one of Lawrence's primary artists and portraitists, who made the illustrations for Seven Pillars of Wisdom. This image, the collotype ordered in 100 copies by Lionel Cust, was based on Kennington's first pastel portrait of c. 1920 for which Lawrence sat. Kennington was dissatisfied with it and put it aside. One copy of this colotype now hangs in Lawrence's cottage, Cloud's Hill. Ronald Storrs described Kennington's actions: '[He] put the drawing-board on the floor, and two or three sheets of paper over the surface of the drawings, and walked on it for a minute. This, he found, greatly improved it, and gave him two portraits, the second faint and in reverse. Number 2 was unexpected, and revealed something not in the original. He put it away, and forgot it for fourteen years...After Lawrence's death, Kennington was impressed both by its spiritual vitality and by the chance stigmata like wounds on the forehead.'
Lawrence was very concerned about visual images of himself: there are something of the order of eighty painted or drawn portraits of him. He and Kennington had a particular rapport; they travelled together and became good friends.
PROVENANCE: Maggs Bros.
REFERENCE: Charles Grosvenor, An Iconography: The Portraits of T.E. Lawrence, 1988, no. 18.