25 September 2008
THOMAS EDWARD LAWRENCE (1888-1935)
Autograph letter signed ('T.E. Shaw') to Ian [Deheer], Clouds Hill, 20 April 1935, two pages, 4to (verso slightly foxed, slight wear on verso along horizontal fold crease). Provenance: Dr E. Bruce Tovee collection; Christie's New York, 7 December 1990, lot 48; the Spiro Family Collection.
'ALL IS AS WELL AS COULD BE EXPECTED': a contented Lawrence, three weeks before his fatal accident. Lawrence belatedly sends a photograph of himself (not present), with the excuse that 'in civil life -- or in retirement, anyway -- time ceases to have any really sharp edges'. He reports on his new life: 'The cottage is quiet now, my activities with the Newspaper Proprietors Association having delivered me at least temporarily from nuisance. My bikes are both well, and myself. The many little jobs incidental to settling into a new place distract me and fill my days. So all is as well as could be expected'. The letter ends with a mention of activities in Bridlington: 'we made the boats pretty good'.
The recipient was a shipbuilder at Bridlington, where Lawrence had served his last RAF posting from November 1934 to February 1935; he was a contributor to T.E. Lawrence by His Friends (1937). Lawrence's fatal accident took place on 13 May, and he died at Bovington Camp Hospital on the 19th.
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