Notes on the illustrations
The subscribers' edition of SP may be regarded as a time capsule of 1920s art in Britain, encompassing as it does such a wide range of artistic expression from the traditional portraiture of William Rothenstein to the abstract imagery of Blair Hughes-Stanton's woodcuts. Some of the artists involved in the project had already achieved prominence; many have since done so; a few languish in obscurity.
Complete copies of the book contain 61 illustrations grouped together following the text. These are mainly in colour, but include reproductions of six black and white photographs from Lawrence's own camera. Copies certified as incomplete have less than the full set of illustrations, a detailed list of which, with the exception of the unsigned Kennington drawing Prickly Pear, appeared at the front of the book.
The order in which the illustrations are bound into the book varies to a limited extent in a few copies - the more probable result of the final rush to get the book finished than of Lawrence's declared intention to make every copy different in his determination not to produce a definitive 'first edition'. The Jidda photographs and first group of British portraits are followed by a buffer  - Night Bombing by Roberts - before Kennington's Arabs, which are in turn separated from the remaining British portraits by a second 'buffer' - Clark's At Akaba.
Throughout the text there are an additional 56 drawings - one of them being reproduced twice, [As-hab, on pp 460 and 591, as listed], and also five tipped-in illustrations - four of them in colour, including the frontispiece of Feysal, and the fifth a black and white aerial photograph of Mudowwara supplied by the Royal Flying Corps. Finally there are the two 'strange and apocalyptic decorative end-papers', [Frank C Baxter's apt and descriptive note in the catalogue of his Lawrence collection], which are wood-cuts by Eric Kennington, reproduced in black and white. The front and back end-papers had presented Kennington with the opportunity to 'do something very lusty . . . Here is a rare chance of publishing the censorable: of doing, without restraint, exactly what you feel like.'  All in-text drawings are printed in black with the exception of False quiet, a water colour which appears on p XVIII at the end of the synopsis section.
It is frequently pointed out that two of the in-text illustrations are 'missing' - The prophet's tomb [listed for p 92] and A garden [p 208]. In fact both these drawings by Paul Nash do appear - on pp 644 and 607 respectively, as also listed.
A very few copies contain an extra unlisted plate of a wood engraving by Blair Hughes-Stanton, illustrating the book's dedicatory poem To S.A. This work was included in the exhibition of many of the originals of the SP illustrations held at the Leicester Galleries, London, in February 1927, appearing as number 71 in the exhibition catalogue - The Poem to S.A. - and it was also reproduced in the 1927 edition of the annual The Woodcut. But if Lawrence ever discussed the secret of the book's dedication with the artist, it is not revealed in his interpretation, which appears to be an entirely literal representation of the words of the poem, [see appendix, To S.A.].
The list of illustrations refers to 'Initials A-W passim line Wadsworth', [it is probable that Wadsworth also drew the Y], but Blair Hughes-Stanton's completion of the set remains uncredited.
In all, eighteen artists produced a total of 118 individual works, plus the set of initial letters.
Lawrence prefaced the list of illustrations at the start of the book, on p XIX, with some introductory paragraphs [tr ed p 19]:
'It seemed to me that every portrait drawing of a stranger-sitter partook somewhat of the judgement of God. If I could get the named people of this book drawn, it would be their appeal to a higher court against my summary descriptions. So I took pains to bring objects and artists together. "Took pains", for my people were in Asia and Africa, besides Europe. I could gather but few of them, and get to work only some of the artists I respect. Importunity and the shoals of a shallow purse were my arguments.
If anybody likes any of these illustrations, he owes thanks to Kennington, who apart from his creative work, took over the duty of art-editor and for five years oversaw each proof of every block. Some of the more difficult colour subjects had to be prooved repeatedly (up to seventeen times) and there were twenty three prints on the worst one. Fortunately I was away in the country, beyond helping him, for I could not have done the job so well. Kennington, the printers (both of the text and plates) and I have been partners.'
Kennington, in Friends , sought to shrug off this note of praise: 'A dozen corrections on one proof might not suffice. Whittingham and Griggs appealed to T.E. to stop my fault-finding. T. E. would giggle, and find yet more faults, and this he could do without having original handy to compare with print; I saw both together. He, in India, [Lawrence went out to India after the book was completed] could correct a tone or colour, when he had not seen the painting for six months. Also he knew the processes and capabilities of the machines better than I, or Whittingham and Griggs.' However, while Kennington was certainly the art editor of SP in the technical sense, it is equally apparent that Lawrence's was the guiding hand, and his will the sole arbiter of choice and taste.
Lawrence later discussed the book's illustrations with Herbert Baker. 'As we turned over its pages he would explain their meaning; but of some of the stranger woodcuts at the ends of the chapters he would say, "I don't know what they mean; they're mad; the war was mad".' Herbert Baker muses 'Were they meant to relieve the tension of the drama, as the Fool's grim and gay humour in Shakespeare's tragedies? Or to express [Lawrence's] own sublime smile at the actors in the war-drama, whom he calls "sentient puppets on God's stage"?' 
The influence of Vorticism predominates in the chapter tail-pieces. Sir John Rothenstein commented that Lawrence's 'clearly marked preference was for an art, in the words of the philosopher T. E. Hulme, "where everything tends to be angular, where curves tend to be hard and geometrical, where the presentation of the human body is . . . distorted to fit into stiff lines and cubical shapes", that is to say the art of such men as Wyndham Lewis, the Epstein of "The Rock Drill", Wadsworth and Roberts' , and Vyvian Richards confirms that these tail-pieces, many of them by William Roberts, were the drawings 'which Lawrence himself liked best of all.' 
There are also several coloured relief maps bound into the book, at the front and immediately following the text, although the number and folding of them varies from copy to copy, in most cases with duplications. The two distinct versions are based on the same map, but one extends from Alexandretta [north] to Mecca [south], and from Akaba [west] to Medina [east], twice the north-south and half the west-east distance covered by the second version, which ranges from Alexandretta [north] to Akaba [south], and from Cairo [west] to Bagdad [east].
Both maps, which feature a red line indicating the 'general direction of some of the journeys in this book', were produced by John Bartholomew & Son, Ltd, of Edinburgh, and were 'Adapted from War Office material, as embodied in / G.S.G.S.2957, by permission of Controller H.M.S.O. / 1:4,000,000'.
An appendix, List of illustrations, gives the list of illustrations as it appeared in the subscribers' edition, with the addition of a few annotations.
||Letter to Eric Kennington, no date, HRC, quoted in Charles Grosvenor essay in The T E Lawrence Puzzle, University of Georgia Press, 1984, p 165 (return to extract)
||Letter to Eric Kennington, 20th July, 1926, HRC, quoted in Charles Grosvenor essay in The T E Lawrence Puzzle, University of Georgia Press, 1984, p 163 (return to extract)
||p 275 (return to extract)
||Friends, p 250 (return to extract)
||Summer's Lease, Sir John Rothenstein, Hamish Hamilton, 1965, p 65 (return to extract)
||Portrait of T E Lawrence, Vyvian Richards, Cape, 1936, p 190 (return to extract)
Next section - Brief biographies of those artists whose work was reproduced in the subscribers' edition of Seven Pillars of Wisdom
The illustrations - full listing of this section's contents