Dogs of the Beni Hillal – an Arabian Legend

Illustration © The Estate of John David Roberts. Reproduced with the permission of the William Roberts Society. Catalogue information based on the catalogue raisonné by David Cleall. For this and full details of the exhibitions cited, see the links below. Any auction prices quoted may not include all fees and taxes, such as VAT and Artist's Resale Right charges.

Dogs of the beni Hillal

Dogs of the Beni Hillal – an Arabian Legend (aka Dogs of the Hillal Ali and Wolves and Men), 1925
Oil on canvas, 40.5 cm x 36 cm

Painted in Fitzroy Street at a time when William Roberts was working on illustrations for the de-luxe edition of Seven Pillars of Wisdom.
'In these slow nights [in Azrak] we were secure against the world. For one thing, it was winter, and in the rain and the dark few men would venture either over the labyrinth of lava or through the marsh – the two approaches to our fortress; and, further, we had ghostly guardians. The first evening we were sitting with the Serahin, Hassan Shah had made the rounds, and the coffee was being pounded by the hearth, when there rose a strange, long wailing round the towers outside. Ibn Bani seized me by the arm and held to me, shuddering. I whispered to him, "What is it?" and he gasped that the dogs of the Beni Hillal, the mythical builders of the fort, quested the six towers each night for their dead masters' – T. E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom, ch. 79
PROVENANCE: Wilfrid Evill (Dec. 1955, £18) > Miss Honor Frost (1963) > Sotheby's 16 June 2011 (£409,250)
EXHIBITION HISTORY: New Chenil Galleries (2) 1926, Leicester Galleries (2) 1927 (as Dogs of the Hillal Ali), Contemporary Art Society 1961, Brighton 1965, Tate Gallery 1965

Home page | Chronology | Bibliography | Collections | Exhibitions
News | Gallery | Auction results | The artist’s house | Contact
List of works illustrated on the site

Catalogue raisonné:
chronological | alphabetical