LAWRENCE, THOMAS EDWARD. 1888-1935.
5 Autographed Letters Signed ("T.E. Shaw"), 6 pp, May 11 to October 6, 1926, R.A.F. Cadet College, Cranwell, a few docketed in pencil, hole punches in margins touching one word in one letter and five words of another, some separation at folds of one letter.
REMARKABLE SERIES OF LETTERS COMMISSIONING MAPS FOR THE PRIVATELY PRINTED EDITION OF SEVEN PILLARS OF WISDOM. The letters are addressed to an unidentified "Sir" at the Edinburgh map-making firm John Bartholomew & Son. The earliest of them begins, "During the war, when I assumed the name of Lawrence, I made certain journeys in Arabia. The results of these are being printed for circulation, in a very limited edition, among my friends. I want a map to accompany the record of my trip ... Are you willing to consider the idea?" (May 11, 1926). The letters reveal that Lawrence was as intimately involved with the production of the maps as he was with the illustrations, binding, and other elements of the privately printed edition of his masterwork, which appeared in an edition of 170 complete copies in 1926 (see following lot). Commenting on proofs he received from Bartholomew, he gives instructions for margins, outline colors, captions, place names, font sizes, order of printing of plates, etc. In the letter of July 14, he writes, "Your sketch seems to me to fit excellently. I have made a few changes, and wiped off a good deal of the blue plates. Will you please see that the red plate ... the joining line ... is distinct enough to 'tell' properly? ... Will you please see that the margins are ample, to allow for binding and trimming? ... The books is on a plain tough paper. Can you print on this?" etc. In another letter, explaining the complicated folds he'd like in one of the maps, he exclaims "This sounds like a Chinese puzzle!" In the end, Bartholomew & Sons produced four color folding maps for the book, each adapted from War Office maps as altered by Lawrence. The author was pleased with the results; in the final letter he writes, "Very many thanks indeed ... It is good of you to have got the job over to time; and it is very well done." He then asks if they will "please keep the stones for a fortnight? And then clean them off, unless you hear to the contrary."
Lawrence signs each of the letters as T.E. Shaw, the name he adopted to enlist in the Royal Tank Corps in 1923, before he was transferred to service at the R.A.F. Cadet College at Cranwell, where these letters were written.