General Sir Reginald Wingate

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.
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.

General Sir Reginald Wingate

General Sir Reginald Wingate, 1923
Sanguine, 34.4 cm x 29.9 cm

Sir Francis Reginald Wingate (1861–1953) was a British general and administrator in Egypt and Sudan. As director of military intelligence he served in the campaigns of 1896–8 which resulted in the reconquest of Sudan, including the Battle of Omdurman. In December 1899 he succeeded Lord Kitchener as Governor-General of the Sudan and sirdar of the Egyptian army. From 1917 to 1919 he was High Commissioner in Egypt in succession to Sir Henry McMahon. He was less successful there than in his administration of Sudan, and was made a scapegoat for the political riots that plagued the country, but he refused to resign even after he was officially replaced by Lord Allenby. In 1920 he was created Baronet Wingate of Dunbar, in the County of Haddington, and of Port Sudan, but he never held another public or military office after retiring from the army on 1 Feb. 1922.
When T. E. Lawrence commissioned this picture for Seven Pillars of Wisdom he wrote to Roberts, 'Do you think you could draw a courtly old man, broken and disappointed now because his career ended badly, a man who was never much more than a butter-merchant and great-man's friend, even in his best days, but whose administration was so successful that it gave him confidence, and for a while he believed himself great . . . Please be very gentle with him, if you do him. He's not so much a butterfly as a ghost of one, a thing by no means to be broken on a wheel' (21 Oct. 1922); and later, 'It's amusing that Wingate wants to see you before he goes off the drop at your hands. Will you feel very much on your guard during the interview?' (16 Feb. 1923).
PROVENANCE: Hamill and Barker (1962) > Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas
EXHIBITION HISTORY: Chenil Galleries 1923, Leicester Galleries (1) 1927, Texas, 1962, National Portrait Gallery, 1988

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