To Aqaba: An Exhibition of Books and Manuscripts at Maggs Bros Bookshop

6-14 July 2017
Maggs Bros, 48 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3DR

Opening Hours: Monday to Friday: 9.30am–5pm.
For the duration of the exhibition, 48 Bedford Square will be open on
Saturdays, 10am–3pm

To mark the centenary of the taking of Aqaba, Maggs Bros Ltd is staging an exhibition of rare material relating to Lawrence and the Arab Revolt its new headquarters at 48 Bedford Square, a Grade I listed building in the heart of Bloomsbury.

 To Aqaba: T.E. Lawrence and the Arab Revolt features both loan material and items for sale, and includes previously unseen items from all periods of his life, including the map he carried with him on his pioneer trip through the Middle East in 1909, sketch maps of Arabian terrain, a note ordering up weaponry for train-wrecking, original photographs taken by him during the campaign, and material from his later life, including the most important manuscript of Seven Pillars of Wisdom in private hands.

Highlights include:

    • An extremely rare autograph letter written in 1909 while Lawrence was an undergraduate at Jesus College, Oxford,
      addressed to Mrs Lane Poole, the wife of his tutor, Reginald Lane Poole. Signed by Lawrence, manuscript material from
      before the war is virtually unobtainable.
    • The map of Northern Syria lent to T. E. Lawrence by Harry Pirie-Gordon, and used by Lawrence on his walking tour of Syria in 1909. It is stained darkly on the front panel of the case, and this stain figures prominently in Lawrence’s stories of the tour, as evidence in the story of him being violently assaulted by ‘bad Kurds’. He apologised to Pirie-Gordon for the stains on the cover, saying they were caused by his blood.
    • T. E. Lawrence, Correspondence with the map making division of the Arab Bureau, 1915–1916. A small but important group of documents from the map-making division in Cairo, including 12 from Lawrence, whose first wartime employment was as a civilian mapmaker in the Geographical Section at the War
      Office in Cairo. This little group, which also includes letters from David Hogarth, Ronald Storrs and Ernest Dowson, gives a unique insight into the inner workings of the intelligence community in Cairo, something of a focal point for the more cerebral top-brass of the First World War.
    • A pencil note from Lawrence, not dated but from 1917, ordering up a Hotchkiss gun and explosives for one of his celebrated train-wreckings.
    • A group of extremely rare original prints of Lawrence’s own photographs, including atmospheric shots of the Arab army in the field.
    • T. E. Lawrence’s essay Tribal Politics in Feisal’s Area, 1918. One of the greatest Lawrence rarities, unnoticed by his bibliographers, printed in an edition of only 15 copies.
    • A pencil portrait drawing of T. E. Lawrence by Augustus John, also Lawrence’s later portrait painter, executed at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919.
    • The most important manuscript of Lawrence’s magnum opus Seven Pillars of Wisdom in private hands, being a substantial portion of the true first edition of Seven Pillars (of which five copies only exist), very extensively rewritten in preparation for the Subscribers’ Edition.
    • A unique proof copy of Seven Pillars of Wisdom. One of nine proof copies of the 1926 Subscribers or “Cranwell” edition – this is one of the earliest copies known, with Lawrence’s splendid extended inscription to his literary agent Raymond Savage.
    • Winston Churchill was one of the chief mourners at Lawrence’s funeral, and dedicated the memorial to him at Lawrence’s school in 1936: the exhibition presents a small
      archive of material relating to this memorial, including a letter from Churchill preparing for the event, in which he writes, ‘What a tragedy it is that we have not got Lawrence with us to settle up Palestine. He alone could have done it and everybody would have taken his decision.’

For more information about Maggs Bros, the specialist seller of rare books and manuscripts, see its website HERE.