The Collectors: T.E. Lawrence (1888-1935)

Thomas Edward Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) was born in Wales in 1888, the illegitimate son of a baronet. The Lawrence family moved to Oxford in 1896, where Thomas was educated at Oxford High School, subsequently at Jesus College, graduating in 1910. His association with the Ashmolean Museum began in 1911 when he was encouraged by D.G. Hogarth, Keeper of Antiquities, to join an archaeological expedition to Carchemish, led by F. Petrie. When not excavating, he explored the area and learned to speak Arabic. His life-story and military career has been well documented. Lawrence wrote The Seven Pillars of Wisdom (an account of his campaigns with the Arabs in the desert) in 1926.










During his youth in Oxford he was involved in many small rescue excavations and collected several objects. The photographs are of just a few items he acquired and donated to the Ashmolean Museum. He also produced a number of brass rubbings, again, donating them to the Museum.

Lawrence's  pots
Some of the ceramics Lawrence excavated in Oxford

The final years of his career were with the RAF, which he left in February 1935. He died in May 1935, aged 47, in a motor cycle accident (riding one of his Brough motorcycles) near his home at Cloud's Hill, Moreton, Dorset, and his buried in the churchyard at Moreton. Information on T.E. Lawrence can be found at Cloud's Hill (National Trust) and the heritage centre at Wareham.

The T. E. Lawrence Society was formed in 1985 at Wareham in Dorset. Two years later the society was registered as an educational charity. The aims of the society are to educate the public of the life and career of Lawrence and to encourage research, and subsequent publication. A Symposiam has been held in Oxford every two years since 1990. The Society publishes a twice yearly journal, and has done so since 1991, and four newsletters each year.

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