Wow, asking the tough questions tonight! But I suppose I should have expected the age-old question of Lawrence’s sexuality. I guess I will start by saying that sexuality is such a delicately nuanced issue. I hate this obsession with finding labels for people, especially people like Lawrence who clearly defied any sort of conventional label. But, if you must ask my opinion, I will say that I believe he was asexual with some homosexual tendencies. I don’t think he could be defined as heterosexual in any conventional sense. He distrusted and avoided most women and usually stuck to older, married (and thus safe) female companions. He had many interesting and unconventional relationships with men: Dahoum and John Bruce being the two most famous. But he did have an opportunity to be with a gay man, his childhood friend Vyvyan Richards — but Richards later claimed that nothing ever occurred and that his relationship with Lawrence was purely platonic, despite Richard’s best attempts to win Lawrence over.
Sometimes I wonder if there has been (almost certainly there has been) some destroyed correspondence that would shed more light on this issue. Someone (perhaps his brother Arnold) fearing for Lawrence’s reputation in posterity destroyed some evidence. I think it’s very likely. But in the end, I think the nature of Lawrence’s sexuality is unknown and unknowable.
It's a pleasure following your blog! Everything is absolutely wonderful and inspirational for my days and obviously for many others. I wanted to ask where did you find the last one photos about Thomas Edward that you posted. It's incredibly marvellous! I just adore it! Thanks for your time. AmorMoveoSol
Thank you so much! I love reading comments like this as maintaining this blog is such a happy distraction for me. I love to see how much the blog following has grown over the past two years.
To answer your question, the photo (T.E. Lawrence at the Smith’s cottage) was scanned from a book called T.E. Lawrence and the Arab Revolt by Joseph Berton. The book is definitely one of my favorites, and only recently published in 2011.
for the night crowd c:*
Awesome Seven Pillars of Wisdom tattoo!
T.E. Lawrence by William Roberts, 1922. Roberts completed many paintings and drawings for Seven Pillars of Wisdom. This portrait was painted during Lawrence’s first stay in the RAF (Royal Air Force).
Gold dagger, belt and scabbard. Lawrence wore the dagger, discreetly acquired in Mecca in 1917, during the war; it also appears in the famous Augustus John portrait. He had it made small because a full-size one would have been too cumbersome. After the war he sold it to pay for repairs to his Dorset cottage, “Clouds Hill”; in 1938 it was given to All Souls College.
Head cloth and agal (head rope). Lawrence had purchased the head-dress in Aleppoin 1912 and given it to his mother the following year. He recovered it to wear during the war because good quality examples were by then hard to obtain.
Folio Society edition of T.E. Lawrence’s Seven Pillars of Wisdom.
Get yours here!
T.E. Lawrence at the Clare Sydney Smith’s cottage at Thurlestone, Devon, 1931.
Do you have any information about what T.E. Lawrence's contemporaries (if any) thought about the 1962 film and its portrayal of him?
I found a very succinct response to this question in Joseph Berton’s T.E. Lawrence and the Arab Revolt:
Many friends of Lawrence were not pleased with the film’s portrayal of him. His brother, A.W. Lawrence, had already taken back permission to use the title of Seven Pillars of Wisdom for the film. After its release he stated in an interview that while he admired the film’s spectacle, directing and music, he was bothered by his brother’s portrayal, particularly of his being sadistic. “I don’t want to give the impression that I consider the Lawrence of the film to be entirely untrue. So far especially as determination, courage, and endurance are concerned, he is comparable… with the man [Peter O’Toole] purports to represent… I need only say that I should not have recognized my brother.” Lowell Thomas sent A.W. letters of support and wrote his own criticism to the movie, namely its lack of historical accuracy, and he praised only the camels. Liddell Hart wrote letters protesting the sadistic depiction of Lawrence at Tafas. This was not the Lawrence he knew.