(London: Jonathan Cape, 1955). 252 x 183 mm. (10 x 7 1/4"). 2 p.l., 3-206 pp. FIRST EDITION. ONE OF 2,000 COPIES.
Attractive olive green morocco by Gatley (signed in pencil on rear pastedown), upper cover with abstract design of 18 inlaid small panels in khaki, ivory, black, and tan morocco, lower cover with central panel inlaid with dark brown rectangles in various sizes arranged to resemble a stone wall, smooth spine with gilt titling, turn-ins with decorative gilt roll. In a suede-lined green buckram slipcase. Pencilled note on front pastedown attributing the binding to 'K. Gatlley" [sic]. Spine gently and evenly sunned to a lighter hue, otherwise a pristine copy.
Described by DNB as "a brutal but faithful record" of life in an air force training school, this memoir by the man known as "Lawrence of Arabia" comes in a binding which, though abstract in design, suggests a military garrison through its colors and shapes. A national hero after his daring exploits in the Middle East during World War I, Lawrence (1888-1935) enlisted in the Royal Air Force under an assumed name in 1923. According to DNB, "Lawrence's motives for enlistment were complex. He had a genuine interest in machinery—this was the period which saw his love affair with Brough Superior motorcycles—and between 1929 and 1935 he worked on the development of seaplane tenders and air-sea rescue craft. Lawrence also once expressed the hope that, having led from above, he could lead from below in a service which had captured his imagination during the war. The RAF also provided him with a relatively secure refuge from the intrusions of the press." The present text vividly describes his experiences at the recruitment office, in basic training, and in regular service. We have been unable to find any information about the binder, but the artisan at work here combined fine technical skill with an artist's refined sense of color and design. (ST17034a)
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PJP Catalog: 79.154