Lawrence of Arabia's sandals found in Derbyshire - in a carrier bag!
Lawrence of Arabia's century-old Arab sandals have been discovered in Derbyshire - in a Waitrose carrier bag.
The sandals, which are still wearable, are part of a collection of items that once belonged to one of Britain's most important military figures that is due to go for auction later this month.
Other items found with the sandals include the book, Napier's English Battles and Sieges in the Peninsular. It was awarded to Thomas Edward Lawrence by the City of Oxford High School in 1903 and has a 'Midsummer Examination' prize label.
Also among the treasures, unearthed by Derbyshire's Hansons Auctioneers, is a copy of Lawrence’s famous book Seven Pillars of Wisdom. It is dedicated 'To Rodney Havelock Walker on your Christening Day, 10th November 1935. From Father & Mother, as a memento that you were christened in the author's Christening robe'. Pictures of the baby wearing the robe are included in the lot together with a photo taken in Libya by Lawrence.
The Lawrence of Arabia collection has an estimate of Â£2,000-Â£3,000.
Charles Hanson, owner of Hansons Auctioneers, said: “When I pulled Lawrence of Arabia’s sandals out of a Waitrose carrier bag I was astonished – and delighted.
“He is one of Britain’s most iconic figures, a man who played a key role in world history and inspired one of the most famous films ever made.
“Most importantly, these items come with great provenance. The entire collection once belonged to Rodney Havelock Walker who wore Lawrence of Arabia’s christening gown. The families were great friends and Rodney Havelock Walker bequeathed the items to our vendor’s family.
“We understand the sandals were worn by the great man himself. Though in a delicate condition, they are remarkable survivors from almost a century ago. They must have faced rocky and sandy terrain and may be war-weary.”
Lawrence, a British military officer, diplomat, writer and archaeologist born in Wales in 1888, became renowned for his liaison expertise during the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire in the First World War.
The breadth and variety of his activities and his ability to write vividly about his exploits, earned him international fame as Lawrence of Arabia - and inspired a film of the same name starring Peter O’Toole. Nominated for 10 Oscars, it’s considered one of the most influential films in the history of cinema.
Mr Hanson said: “Lawrence of Arabia, often seen as a driven, quirky man, fought successfully alongside Arab guerrilla forces in the First World War and won admiration for his liaison skills.
“He successfully united diverse, often warring, Arab tribes to fight the Turks and led military activities against Ottoman forces, culminating in the capture of Damascus in October 1918. His efforts contributed towards the making of the modern Middle East.
“We can only imagine the experiences he had in the Arabian Peninsula but, thanks to this rare find, whoever buys this lot will be able to walk in his shoes.”
The items will be sold on Tuesday December 19 at Hansons Auctioneers, Etwall.