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Lawrence of Arabia's robe and dagger in temporary export ban

The UK Has Imposed A Temporary Export Ban On A White Silk Robe And Dagger Owned By T E Lawrence - Better Known As ‘Lawrence Of Arabia’ - Amid Efforts To Find A Local Buyer For The Iconic Artefacts Linked To British History.

PTI | Updated on: 03 Feb 2016, 08:55:36 PM


The UK has imposed a temporary export ban on a white silk robe and dagger owned by T E Lawrence - better known as ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ - amid efforts to find a local buyer for the iconic artefacts linked to British history.

Culture minister Ed Vaizey, who ordered the bars, said it was vital the “classic objects remain in the UK”.

Archaeologist Lawrence was a well known World War I diplomat who worked closely with Arab leaders.

It comes after a review said the items were integral to him and UK history, the BBC reported today.

Lawrence was one of the most recognisable figures of the war, due to his work in the Middle East and his involvement in the Arab Revolt.

A trained archaeologist, he led small but effective irregular forces against Turkey, attacking communication and supply routes.

His exploits were depicted in the 1961 Oscar winning film, Lawrence of Arabia, starring Peter O’Toole.

The decision to defer export licences for his curved steel and silver dagger and his white robes have been put in place in the hope of finding buyers from the UK.

The dagger - which is valued at 125,000 pounds - was presented to the archaeologist and diplomat after the capture by Arab forces of Aqaba in Jordan in 1917.

Lawrence wore the white robes in a famous portrait of him by Augustus John.

The decision follows a recommendation by the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest (RCEWA).

“The robes and dagger together form a crucial part of the images of Lawrence in painting, sculpture and photographs; and they are therefore an integral part of his life and our history,” RCEWA chairman Sir Hayden Phillips said.

Vaizey said Lawrence was “one of the most extraordinary figures of the 20th Century”.

“These robes and dagger are absolutely iconic and a key part of his enduring image. It is important that these classic objects remain in the UK,” he added. Lawrence died on May 19, 1935 at the age of 46. 

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First Published : 03 Feb 2016, 08:53:00 PM