Monday 24 December 2007 by Mal Booth. No comments
Exhibitions, Lawrence of Arabia and the Light Horse, Our exhibition

Here are some images of the exhibition. We haven't got the professional photos yet, so these are just my snaps. They'll be good enough to give you a look at most of the features we have on display. (I still need to add a couple that I seem to have missed when I took these, so check back sometime in January 2008.)

The two films - “Lawrence of Arabia” and “Forty Thousand Horsemen” The two films - “Lawrence of Arabia” and “Forty Thousand Horsemen”
The two books: “Seven pillars of wisdom” & “The Australian Imperial Force in Sinai and Palestine, 1914–1918″ The two books: “Seven pillars of wisdom” & “The Australian Imperial Force in Sinai and Palestine, 1914–1918″

This initial feature recognises what most people may know about the legends of both Lawrence and the Light Horse. Above you can see: the entrance showcase containing a full light horseman's uniform, saddle and kit alongside a set of T.E. Lawrence's robes and headdress from All Souls College in Oxford; a feature on the two legendary films, Lawrence of Arabia (1962) and Forty Thousand Horsemen (1941); and the two early histories, Henry Gullett's The Australian Imperial Force in Sinai and Palestine, 1914-1918 (1923) and T.E. Lawrence's Seven pillars of wisdom (1926). The DVD screen shows both original feature film trailers and there is a mirror under Seven pillars of wisdom so that the binding by Roger de Coverly & Sons is visible. Beyond this we explore the history behind the legends.

This is a small feature on the Ottoman Empire surrounding a large map of the empire in 1908. After this, the exhibition is arranged with parallel stories running in chronological order, with Lawrence and the Arabs on the right and the Light Horse on the left.

The Lawrence story behind the legends begins here with another famous image of Lawrence painted by Augustus John in Paris in 1919. It is on loan from the Tate. Beyond that we see a showcase holding another set of Lawrence robes, from the Fashion Museum in Bath, digital images of Lawrence and Arab leaders from the Imperial War Museum (IWM) and our own collection and another showcase that holds documents from our collection.

Light Horse feature (2) Light Horse feature (2)

The Light Horse storyline begins with a map showing all of their battles in the Sinai and Palestine during the First World War. After that map a complete set of Light Horse colour patches is displayed as well as a selection of their informal badges and a sketch of a Light Horseman by George Lambert.

Lady Chauvel’s album Lady Chauvel’s album
Sir Harry Chauvel by George Lambert Sir Harry Chauvel by George Lambert

The Light Horse storyline continues with this feature on the Desert Mounted Corps commander and famous Light Horse leader, General Sir Harry Chauvel. His tunic and slouch hat are displayed back-to-back with a set of Lawrence's robes and you can also see the album of his wartime experiences compiled by Lady Chauvel and a sketch of him by George Lambert.

Lawrence’s dagger, belt & silverware Lawrence’s dagger, belt & silverware

These two showcases display treasures borrowed from: HM The Queen's Collection (Lawrence's SMLE rifle), the Imperial War Museum (Hejaz stamps), and All Souls College (Lawrence's dagger, belt, silverware and a letter from Emir Feisal to Lawrence.

Light Horse - Magdhaba feature Light Horse - Magdhaba feature

On the opposite wall, we see two features covering the Light Horse battles at Romani and Magdhaba in 1916.

Lawrence & Akaba (2) Lawrence & Akaba (2)
Lawrence’s map of the rout to Akaba Lawrence’s map of the rout to Akaba

Lawrence advised Feisal's Arab forces on the taking of Akaba in 1917 and was accompanied by the fearsome Howeitat tribal chief Auda Abu Tayi, shown above in a digital print from the IWM with Lawrence standing on his right. Also shown on this wall is a detailed map of Akaba that was produced with Lawrence's input, using aerial photos taken by aircraft flown from HMS Raven and two images of Feisal's Arab army on the march and the charge to Akaba, both taken by Lawrence. On the right, above you can see the sketch map of the route taken by Lawrence and the Arabs to Akaba, which is on loan from the Royal Society for Asian Affairs in London.

"Beersheba corner" as I call it has some great highlights. Above everything we see Brigadier General Grant's pennant - he led the famous charge just over 90 years ago on 31 October 1917, as commander of the 4th Light Horse Brigade and his uniform and a sketch of him by George Lambert are also shown. To the left of the Lambert sketch is a photo of General Allenby, the commander of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force. His map of Beersheba from our collection and his Field Marshall's baton, from the IWM are displayed here too.

Soon after Beersheba, Jerusalem fell to Allenby's forces just before Christmas time in 1917. The features here include a Hanukkah lamp lent by the IWM, General Chauvel's pennant, and a George Lambert painting of the Holy City from the top of the Dung Gate.

More to come in part two.