Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Head of Thomas Edward Lawrence (1888-1935), c.1926 

Augustus Edwin John RA OM (1878-1961)

Head of Thomas Edward Lawrence (1888-1935), c.1926, Augustus Edwin John
20th Century
16 1/2 x 13 1/4 inches 41.9 x 33.7 cm
Lawrence had a high opinion of John's talents: "John painted a small head of me last month. It is very good. He also drew me (in R.A.F. togs) 3/4 length in charcoal. Also good. And he gave me the drawing, which is very good: very good indeed, in fact, John is a great man."

In his 'Autobiography' (ed. Michael Holroyd, 1975) John recalled his friendship with Lawrence and the sittings he had had with him:

"He sat for me frequently in Paris and later in England. Lawrence actually enjoyed being painted and always seemed vastly tickled by the results." (p.266)

"I never saw eye to eye with him about pictures but his comments were amusing ... it was his own portraits which interested him most; this was only natural: I can hear him chuckling." (p.272)

"19 March 1920
Dear John, Really, I'm hotter stuff than I thought: the wrathful portrait went off at top speed for a thousand to a Duke! That puts me for the moment easily at the head of the field in your selling plate. Of course I know you will naturally think the glory is yours - but I believe it's due to the exceeding beauty of my face ... What do artists' models of the best sort fetch per hour (or perhaps per job) ... it seems to me that I have a future ... T.E.L." (pp.278-284)
Philip Mould Ltd, 18-19 Pall Mall, London, SW1Y 5LU.Copyright Philip Mould Ltd.