[ Lawrence of Arabia and Eric Kennington. ] Typed Letter Signed from Lionel Curtis to R. R. Francis, a circular regarding Kennington's 'ghost portrait' of Lawrence, with TLS from John Johnson to Francis, regarding the collotype print of it.

Lionel Curtis [ Lionel George Curtis ] (1872-1955), writer; John Johnson [ John de Monins Johnson ] (1882-1956), Printer to University of Oxford [ T. E. Lawrence; Lawrence of Arabia; Eric Kennington ]
Publication details: 
Curtis's letter from Hales Croft, Kidlington, Oxford. 20 November 1935. Johnson's letter on letterhead of the University Press, Oxford. 15 July 1936.
SKU: 17265

Both items in good condition, lightly aged and worn. ONE: TLS from Curtis to Francis. 1p., folio. Signed 'L. Curtis'. A circular letter, with signature, date and name of recipient added. Curtis begins the letter: 'I am writing to ask whether you would care to acquire a replica of a portrait of Lawrence which has now come to be known as "the ghost portrait." Its history is as follows: In 1923 Eric Kennington made a portrait in pastel of Lawrence, who was then a fellow in residence at All Souls. When it was finished Kennington and Lawrence both agreed that the colours were far too crude, so they laid it on the floor of the studio, spread over it a sheet of brown paper, upon which they trampled. The result was a transfer so much better in tone than the original pastel that Kennington fixed and framed it. It was ultimately acquired by Colonel Buxton and a few weeks ago I saw it at Martins Bank, at a Meeting of the Lawrence Memorial Committee. I felt at once that here was the portrait which ought to hang in All Souls College and taking my courage in my hands asked Colonel Buxton whether he would allow the College to acquire it. He most generously agreed and when the Fellows of the College saw it they unanimously and gratefully accepted Colonel Buxton's offer. | The only condition he made was that he should be allowed to have a photograph of the portrait.' In the second half of the letter Curtis explains the circumstances of producing a collotype of the portrait, by the Oxford University Press, who are 'exceptionally skilled in the reproduction of portraits'. The cost of production will be forty-five guineas for 25 copies, and Curtis asks Francis to subscribe, explaining how the cost for a copy will vary depending on the number of subscribers. TWO: TLS from Johnson to Francis. 1p., 4to. Informing him that 'the reproduction in chromo-collotype of the portrait by Mr. Eric Kennington is now printed and that copies will be ready for distribution during the next few days. The charge to Francis for one copy is twenty-five shillings. Manuscript note of settlement at foot of page.