Monday 26 February 2018

A T. E. Lawrence Limited Edition: The Kaer of Ibu Wardani (70 copies only!) NOW SOLD OUT!


By T. E. Lawrence

A key early piece of writing by Lawrence of Arabia, which originally appeared in Jesus College Magazine in 1913, and is now published in its own edition for the first time

With an original, hand-printed linocut frontispiece

A strictly limited, never-to-be-reprinted edition of 70 hand-numbered copies for sale


A bit of background: 

As the summer of 1912 began, T. E. Lawrence was a 23 year-old off-duty archaeologist. With his dig at Carchemish closed for the season, Lawrence went travelling with Dahoum, the young Arab who had become his constant companion. The pair decided to take in a site of archaeological interest deep in the Syrian desert: the remains of a Byzantine palace known as the Qasr of Ibn Wardan.

The visit made enough of an impression on Lawrence that he was inspired to ‘formally’ write up the experience as an essay, which he sent back to England for inclusion in a new publication produced by his old Oxford college. Thanks to (presumably) a slight mangling of Lawrence’s title by the typesetter, the piece duly appeared as ‘The Kaer of Ibu Wardani’ in Jesus College Magazine Vol. 1, No. 2, dated January 1913.

This key early piece of descriptive writing by the future Lawrence of Arabia has been largely forgotten, and is not easy to track down. It is now presented in its own, limited edition for the first time.

The edition features an original, hand-printed linocut by Sharon Newell, inspired by the design of a wall carving at the Qasr, tipped in as a frontispiece.

A5 format, printed on uncoated 160gsm paper, 16pp plus a cover (designed to echo the 1935 Trade Edition of Seven Pillars) printed on heavy Rives Shetland paper.

The interior is set in Lawrence's preferred font Caslon, with a recreation of the striking decorated capitals designed by Edward Wadsworth for the 1926 Subscriber's Edition of Seven Pillars.

Featuring, as well as the full text of 'The Kaer of Ibu Wardani', an extract from Seven Pillars where Lawrence recalls his visit to the Qasr, plus a 'Note on Fonts' and annotations by Adam Newell, with supporting illustrations.


I'm extremely pleased with how this small edition has turned out. I have many people to thank, not least Dr. Robin Darwall-Smith, the Archivist at Jesus College Oxford, who helped me gain access to the original text. I should also thank Robert Athol, the Archivist at Jesus College *Cambridge*, whom (schoolboy error alert!) I mistakenly contacted in the first instance. He soon put me in touch with the *right* Jesus College.

Thanks are also due to Sharon Newell for labouring over 70 exquisite linocuts to act as the frontispieces, Paul Lloyd for creating a digital version of Wadsworth's bloomers, and Martin Stiff of the design agency Amazing 15 for his typically superb work.

Credits are also due to the Creative Commons photographers Fulvious, Heretiq, Jim Gordon, 'Upyernoz' and Reibai, whose work I have used for illustrations. 

Readers of the edition will see that several key biographies of Lawrence are referenced in my annotations, but in addition I would also like to mention Not a Suitable Hobby for an Airman: T. E. Lawrence as Publisher by V. M. Thompson as a useful source of information about Wadsworth's work.


  1. Stookey, Mark. 30 July 2018. Not surprisingly, I learned of this little book after it was sold out. But from the "samples" on your website it looks splendid. Congratulations, benevolences and felicitations. The little gem of an essay by C.J.G. was almost unknown until it was reissued in the Journal of the T. E. Lawrence Society in 1992. It's of interest and value to all Lawrentians (or Lawrencians). Just getting into the Withnail Books website on a hot, dry, dreary summer evening was a morale booster. Now I have the Jackson Lamb series to add to my book wishlists! Best of luck for restoring the ruff (not to say rough) old Jaguar. Please reply. M. S.

    1. Many thanks for your comment, which I have only just seen. *Do* read the Jackson Lamb books, they're great fun.