Seven Pillars of Wisdom. A Triumph - T. E. Lawrence 1935 - Jonathan Cape, London - First Trade Edition A finely bound example of this autobiographical and legendary account of the experiences of T. E. Lawrence ('Lawrence of Arabia') while serving as a liaison officer with rebel forces during the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Turks of 1916 to 1918. Illustrated with 54 plates, and four folding maps.

Winston Churchill stated that this ‘ranks with the greatest books ever written in the European Language’.

‘With its richly detailed evocation of the land and the people Lawrence passionately believed in, its incisive portraits of key players, from Faisal ibn Hussein, the future Hashemite king of Syria and Iraq, to General Sir Edmund Allenby and other members of the British imperial forces,
Seven Pillars of Wisdom is an indispensable primary historical source. It helps us to understand today’s Middle East, while giving us thrilling accounts of military exploits (including the liberation of Aqaba and Damascus), clandestine activities, and human foibles.’ [Penguin]
  Lawrence published and financed this immensely ambitious project himself and the first subscription of 170 copies at 30 guineas each (a considerable sum at the time) came nowhere near paying off Lawrence's costs.

The illustrators were the best British artists of the day: Wadsworth, Roberts, Nash, Blair Hughes-Stanton, Augustus John, Sargent, Dobson, William Nicholson and others. Lawrence himself designed and supervised the text, with the help of the printer, Pike, and as the production took much longer than expected, the costs rose to such an extent that only by issuing the abridgement
Revolt in the Desert was Lawrence able to pay off the mounting debts.

Provenance: T.C. D’Arch-Smith with his bookplate.

References: Elizabeth Duval,
T. E. Lawrence: A Bibliography (1938), 11. O'Brien A40. Listed in National Geographic's 100 Greatest Adventure Books.

Large octavo (binding size 25.5x25cm), pp. [2] 672.

Publishing History
1922 - Lawrence originally wrote his original 400,000 word text detailing his travels and campaigns against the Ottoman army. This was published in 8 copies by Oxford Times, of which 6 copies are believed to have survived. Two copies are in the British Library. One copy was sold in 2001 at Christie’s for US$941,000.-.

Upon publishing this his friends insisted that the text may be of interest to a large audience, although Lawrence did not think it was suitable for general reading he agreed to publish a limited edition for his close friends and acquaintances by subscription, which was done in 1926 with the ‘Private and limited edition’, also known as the Cranwell edition. Of which 50 Marked 'Incomplete' by Lawrence were not for sale and given to men who served under Lawrence in Saudi Arabia most of whom could not afford the subscribers edition. Approximately 170 copies of the 'Complete' subscribers version which contains about 60 plates and was bound in full leather. Twenty two copies were published in the United States in order to achieve copyright, these were not full sets and lacked some of the colour plates. It is very difficult to ascertain the total number of 1926 copies, it could be up to 260 in total.

In 1927 An abridged version called Revolt in the Desert was published to provide Lawrence with much needed funds. Of which 300 copies of a large paper edition were published and five printings of the smaller edition where published. There was also an American Edition in red cloth.

Lawrence vowed that the text would not be made publicly available in his lifetime, but enough interest was generated by Revolt in the Desert that two months after his death in 1935 Cape published the full text in the 1935 Trade edition. Of which there were two variants ,one in a cloth binding and a limited run of 750 bound in half pigskin which included four extra colour plates and three manuscript facsimiles of Lawrence's correspondence with his editors.
  Bound in full brown morocco, spine with raised bands and gilt lettering, gilt rule borders to boards, marbled endpapers, top edge tinted brown, original cloth covers bound in at the rear.   Condition: Fine but for some spotting to verso of frontispiece, in fine binding.   Ref: 110495   Price: HK$ 7,000