Friday 8 June 2007 by Mal Booth. 1 comment
Exhibitions, Lawrence of Arabia and the Light Horse, Less than six degrees of separation, Lawrence of Arabia and the Light Horse

Recently, I had one of those marvellous moments of discovery connecting T E Lawrence to C E W Bean . . . well, in a small way.

I was researching captions for the exhibition items on loan from various UK institutions when I came across some information about the lintel on the door to Lawrence's Clouds Hill home in Dorset. I had visited Cloud's Hill with Jeremy Wilson in 2006 when I was in the UK researching and negotiating our loans.

In their exhibition, the Imperial War Museum included  a copy of the lintel from the entrance door to Clouds Hill. Lawrence and one or two friends serving with him in the RAF or Royal Tank Corps carved the Greek inscription "Ou Phrontis" (or Why worry?) above his door. The words come from a story in Herodotus VI, 129. Lawrence explained this in a letter dated 18 October 1932 to Mrs Eric Kennington: "It means that nothing in Clouds Hill is to be a care upon its inhabitant".

There is an image of the lintel here.

I remembered that among the more interesting items in Bean's own library - held in our 'vault' collection as a formed collection and not usually for public access, are his own volumes of Herodotus. Bean had acquired copies of Herodotus that he has dis-bound and then rebound with larger plain pages around each printed page for his notes, drawings and translations.

So, I had a look for the above quote to see whether Bean too had noted it. It is indeed underlined and his notation reads 'What does H. care? The proverb arose'.


tony matthews

I was told by the guide it translated into "I don"t care" .Is this correct?