Maggs Bros Ltd

"The Schwartz Packet".

LAWRENCE T.E. (1938.)

£2000.00 

Please contact us in advance if you would like to view this book at our Curzon Street shop.

Forged manuscript of T.E. Lawrence's A Study of James Elroy Flecker. 3 pages of manuscript, written in black ink on thin typing paper, 2 leaves of which have carbon typing purporting to be transcripts of letters from Hussein Ibn Ali and General Wilson. Bound with blanks in quarter niger morocco with cloth sides, by Sangorski & Sutcliffe. Supposedly written in 1919, but in fact c.

One of the most skilful forgeries we have ever seen. The forger has not only simulated T.E.'s handwriting extremely succesfully but has also assembled two corroborating bits of evidence. Firstly the paper the ms. is written on: two leaves appear to be continuation sheets of copies of letters to Lawrence, as described above. The text of the last sentence (in fact the only sentence in this fragment) of the Wilson letter does, with hindsight, seem a little unconvincing: "Royle will I think find Faisal to be a real good fellow", but one might have found some intellectual accommodation for this unmilitary expression if not alerted by anything else. The forger uses the same technique by loosely inserting the text (again a carbon) of a typed letter from Lord Stamfordham at Buckingham Palace, with a 2 line note supposedly in T.E.'s hand at the foot. So far so good, and the present cataloguer has to admit that he would not immediately have said no to this manuscript. However, at an early stage (in fact in 1938) A.W. Lawrence was shown the manuscript, and was able to comprehensively demolish its authenticity. The letter from Stamfordham has A.W.'s note at the foot: "The above two lines of writing are not in my brother's hand & no such note appears on the original holograph letter in my possession from which this copy was typed after the death of T.E. Lawrence. A.W. Lawrence, May 11, 1938." A.W. was also able to dish the manuscript itself: we have kindly been lent a copy of a letter he wrote to Mrs Flecker in January 1938, explaining that "I found a manuscript about your husband among my brother's papers and had it typed by a man who took advantage of the opportunity to trace the original and sell his tracing to a dealer as being a genuine document . . ." Additionally A.W. has inscribed the first blank of the manuscript to similar, but less detailed, effect. The forgery and its letter were kept hostage by the solicitors for the Lawrence estate, and are still housed in an imposing looking legal envelope (once closed with wax seals which are still largely intact) titled "The Schwartz Packet", after the name of the dealer, Jake Schwartz, who was attempting to sell it.

Stock Code: 225399