(London: Golden Cockerel Press, 1936). 255 x 192 mm. (10 x 7 1/2"). Two volumes. With a foreword by A. W. Lawrence in volume I and a preface by Mrs. Lawrence in volume II. No. 299 OF 1,000 COPIES printed on paper.
Original terra cotta half morocco over wheat-colored linen by Sangorski & Sutcliffe (stamp-signed on front pastedown), raised bands, spines with gilt titling and printer's device. With frontispiece photograph of Lawrence and his brothers; with plates showing 165 reproductions of black and white photographs, drawings, and plans; and with two folding maps of Palestine in an envelope laid in at the rear of volume I (as issued). Printed in Perpetua type. Chanticleer 112; Cave & Manson, pp. 119-20. Two corners just slightly bumped, a couple of negligible smudges to cloth, trivial internal imperfections, but AN ESPECIALLY FINE COPY, extraordinarily clean, fresh, and bright inside and out.
Published the year after the author's death, this is the first printing of Lawrence's final examination thesis submitted to Jesus College, Oxford in 1910 under the more academic title "The Influence of the Crusades on European Military Architecture to the End of the Twelfth Century." Lawrence travelled to all the major castles in England, Wales, France, Syria, and northern Palestine, and his lifelong affection for the Middle East began during these explorations. Volume I contains the thesis, for which he was awarded a first class degree in modern history, and volume II the letters he wrote to his mother, Sarah Lawrence, while on his research trips. Lawrence (1888-1935), known popularly as Lawrence of Arabia, was a national hero in Britain; the DNB notes that at his death, "there were rumours that Lawrence had not died, but had withdrawn into an Arthurian limbo from which he would emerge to assist an imperilled nation." Founded in 1920 with the intention to print fine editions of important well-known books as well as new literary works of merit from young authors, the Golden Cockerel Press was purchased in 1924 by the illustrator and wood-engraver Robert Gibbings. "Under his direction," says Cave, the Press was "transformed into the principal vehicle for the renaissance of wood-engraved book illustration that took place in the years between the wars." Cave and Manson disclose that for the present title, editors had wanted to use the wood engravings for which the press was renowned and which would have contributed to the beauty of the book, but they were thwarted by the Lawrence family's insistence on using collotype reproductions of Lawrence's photographs and drawings. A. W. Lawrence, brother and executor of the author, notes that at his urging, departures had been made "from the Golden Cockerel concept of book production. The Press wishes it to be appreciated that it does not advocate this treatment, and has agreed to issue the book in this way only with reluctance." Despite this apology, the well-printed and well-bound book has always been regarded as a pleasing and popular item in the Golden Cockerel corpus. The light-colored linen used for the binding has a tendency to soil very easily; the present virtually immaculate copy is less affected than any we have seen. (ST15013)
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PJP Catalog: ABA1stSept20.011