AN ENGLISH CUBIST




WILLIAM ROBERTS:

Songs of Selim el Jezairi



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.
Images scanned from the Sedgwick copy of the 1926 Seven Pillars of Wisdom are used by courtesy of Mrs J. Sedgwick and are not to be further reproduced except by permission.


Songs of Selim el Jezairi

Songs of Selim el Jezairi, 1925–6
Pen and ink, 28.5 cm x 19.5 cm

Tailpiece drawing for Lawrence, The Seven Pillars of Wisdom (where titled 'A Jolly Evening'): 'Often, too, Nesib el Bekri would take out his manuscript of the songs of Selim el Jezairi, that fierce unscrupulous revolutionary who, in his leisure moments between campaigns, the Staff College, and the bloody missions he fulfilled for the Young Turks, his masters, had made up verses in the common speech of the people about the freedom which was coming to his race. Nesib and his friends had a swaying rhythm in which they would chant these songs, putting all hope and passion into the words, their pale Damascus faces moon-large in the firelight, sweating. The soldier camp would grow dead silent till the stanza ended, and then from every man would come a sighing, longing echo of the last note' (ch. 39).
PROVENANCE: Bayard L. Kilgour Jr > Houghton Library, Harvard University (1966, MS Eng 1653, no. 41)
EXHIBITION HISTORY: Leicester Galleries (1) 1927




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