Maggs Bros Ltd

Pencil portrait by Augustus John.

LAWRENCE T.E. (1919. ])

£32500.00 

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Three quarter-length pencil portrait of Lawrence, in Arab robes and head-dress, wearing a short dagger in his belt; c. 12 by 7.5 inches, signed "John" at lower right. Not dated by the artist, but from the "Paris Peace Conference" series executed in January, 1919. A little foxing, and some darkening from exposure. Newly matted in acid-free paper board, to show the artist's crop-marks at right, and replaced in its original frame, with a Redfern Gallery label on the back recording its sale in 1941 to one Miss Anne Joyce. [Paris, January,

A fine portrait, previously unknown to the iconographers of Lawrence and one of the earliest portraits John made of him.

Grosvenor [An Iconography of the Portraits of T.E. Lawrence (Second edition 1988)] records and reproduces seven finished John portraits of Lawrence in Arab dress made at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, three oil on canvas, and four pencil drawings. The present portrait bears strong similarities to the four pencil drawings, and although it is not dated is certainly a result of these sittings. It is the only one of the drawings to be a three-quarter length portrait, and may well be a study for the famous oil painting reproduced as Grosvenor 1. Due to the vagueness of the original exhibition catalogues, and the lack of any catalogue raisonné of John's work it is difficult to trace the exact provenance of all of John's Paris portraits of Lawrence. However, in the exhibition from which the present drawing was ultimately purchased there were a number of pictures from John's Great War period and those remaining unsold were probably retained by John and sold intermittently over the following years.

Lawrence admired John to the point of obsequiousness, and was very proud of John's portraits of him. In 1933 he wrote to Mrs Lionel Curtis: "Do you realise that posterity will call me beautiful, on the strength of those two John pencil sketches so artfully published by me in my books?" [Letters p. 771-772].

Stock Code: 225876