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Published: 08 February 2020

By Andy Ross

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Article of the week - Number One

Each week this year the blog will feature an item from the collection in the studio. This week, a waistcoat and jacket which belonged to T. E. Lawrence, aka Lawrence of Arabia.

This rather smart (and small) set was bought at auction and there was little information about it except that it had been presented to the seller by no less than Lieutenant Colonel T. E. Lawrence. 

T. E. LAwrence - the T. E. stands for "Thomas Edward" was born in North Wales in 1888. Before the First of the World Wars he worked as a photographer and archaeologist in the Middle East, a posting which led to his strong identification with the Arab people. 

Lawrence of Arabia started his War posting in Egypt but in 1916, when the Arab Revolts started, he began to travel through Arabia - the peninsula consisting of the countries of Yemen, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. This was the start of the work which would eventually lead to him becoming a household name and widely known through the film starring Peter O'Toole. 

You can read more about T. E. Lawrence on the Imperial War Museum's and on the Smithsonian's websites. 

The purple jacket in the collection has lace edged sleeves and bright red inside pockets while the waistcoat with its pink stripes has small handmade thread fastenings. The provenance we have is that the set was given by T. E. Lawrence to Arthur Simms, the great uncle of the original vendor. Mr Simms served in the Army with the Lieutenant Colonel, and, on learning that his great niece's husband, Norman, was interested in Lawrence of Arabia, he in turn passed it on. 

If you would like to see the waistcoat and jacket, or any of the rest of the collection, please do ask in the studio.