On 16 November 1919, at a dinner party at All Souls, Oxford, Graves first met T. E. Lawrence, better known as Lawrence of Arabia. Lawrence knew and liked Graves’s poetry, and they became fast friends. Indeed, Graves dedicated his poetry book The Pier-Glass to Lawrence, and relied on the ‘legendary hero’ for ‘careful amendments’ towards Lawrence and the Arabs, a commissioned biography that was completed by Graves in a mere ten weeks.
Jonathan Cape and Graves were no doubt delighted with sales; it sold 15,000 copies in advance in November 1927. After reading Basil Liddell Hart’s biography on Lawrence, Graves wrote to him:
‘I like your book a lot. You write from a very different angle, and the information T. E. gave you was from a very different angle.’
On Lawrence’s death they collaborated to produce the publication on display.