Lawrence of Arabia's map to auction for $162,000 at Sotheby's

A hand-drawn map of Northern Arabia sketched by T E Lawrence will excite collectors at Sotheby's November 4 auction in London.

Lawrence of Arabia map
This is perhaps the most important map by TE Lawrence in private hands, with the journey to Aqaba a notorious and pivotal part of his expedition

The map was drawn by Lawrence of Arabia in May 1917, while he travelled across the Saudi Arabian desert, in what would be one of the most challenging expeditions of his career.

It is the only map by Lawrence that details the route he took prior to the capture of Aqaba - a pivotal moment in the Arab Revolt against the Ottomans.

Valued at £70,000-100,000 ($113,544-162,606), the piece is a perfect complement to Lawrence's book Seven Pillars of Wisdom, which describes the harsh conditions of the Nefud desert.

"...Air streaming past as thick smoke with dust sun-blinking in it. Iridescent dusk..." writes Lawrence.

Lawrence had travelled from al Wejh on May 9 in order to capture Aqaba and expand the Arab revolt to the north. Reaching the Hejaz railway on May 19, the Arab armies took five days to arrive at Aqaba on May 24, with the journey proving to be the most arduous Lawrence had completed in Arabia.

The map was created for cartographer Douglas Carruthers between 1918 and 1922, with Lawrence using his notebooks - now in the British Library - as reference. It is signed by him and annotated, "This is the only drawn copy so please do not lose it prematurely".

It was previously housed in the collection of the Royal Society of Asian Affairs, having been donated by Carruthers in 1962.

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