Aug 16

T.E. Lawrence's Birthday (Lawrence of Arabia)

Lawrence's Seven Pillars of Khaki
Show More
Colonel T.E. Lawrence
painting by Augustus John OM, 1919
Show More

"All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible."

~ T. E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph, 1926

Seven Pillars of Wisdom is the autobiographical account of the experiences of British soldier T. E. Lawrence ("Lawrence of Arabia"), while serving as a liaison officer with rebel forces during the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Turks of 1916 to 1918. The book takes its title from a manuscript that Lawrence had intended to publish before the war - a scholarly work about the seven greatest cities of the Middle East: Cairo, Smyrna, Constantinople, Beirut, Aleppo, Damascus, and Medina. However, that original work was abandoned, and although there are no direct references to the metaphorical pillars in this work, it is believed that the decision to repurpose the title may have been influenced by John Ruskin’s treatise Seven Lamps of Architecture, a biblical allusion from Proverbs, and a reference from the book's dedication poem, possibly co-edited in literary collaboration with author and war poet Robert Graves. Regardless, Lawrence's use echoes a long-recognized cultural motif and influence of the mystical number seven "identified by Hebrew mystics with the seven days of the Creation, with the seven days of the week.”

The "Lawrence's Seven Pillars of Khaki," tartan was designed for the man known as Lawrence of Arabia.

This commemorative tartan was designed by Lady Theresa Jenkins-Teague with assistance from Fiona Whitson to commemorate Lawrence of Arabia, born the 16th August, 1888 in Tremadog, Caernarfonshire, Wales.

Thomas Edward Lawrence CB DSO (16 August 1888 – 19 May 1935) was a British archaeologist, military officer, and diplomat. He was renowned for his liaison role during the Sinai and Palestine Campaign, and the Arab Revolt against Ottoman Turkish rule of 1916–18.


The breadth and variety of his activities and associations, and his ability to describe them vividly in writing, earned him international fame as Lawrence of Arabia—a title used for the 1962 film based on his First World War activities.

The orange brown represents Wadi Rum and Lawrence’s famous raid on Aqaba as well as the warm internal hues and tones of Clouds Hill, Lawrence’s secluded Dorset retreat.


Red represents Lawrence’s birthplace at Tremadoc and his Welsh ancestry.


The cross of Saint George is contrived in the sett to demonstrate Lawrence’s admiration for ‘Richard the Lionheart’ and his thesis on Crusader Castles.


Blue and green represent his Irish connections and his two periods of service in the RAF.


The sett shows seven distinct bands of Khaki which pay homage to Lawrence’s literary masterpiece, ’The Seven Pillars of Wisdom’.

Throughout his life, Lawrence was a prolific writer. A large portion of his output was epistolary; he often sent several letters a day. Several collections of his letters have been published. He corresponded with many notable figures, including George Bernard Shaw, Edward Elgar, Winston Churchill, Robert Graves, Noël Coward, E. M. Forster, Siegfried Sassoon, John Buchan, Augustus John and Henry Williamson. 

Lawrence's major work is Seven Pillars of Wisdom, an account of his war experiences, which in addition to being a memoir of his experiences during the war, also serves as essays on military strategy, Arabian culture and geography, and other topics. 

Lawrence acknowledged having been helped in the editing of the book by George Bernard Shaw. In the preface to Seven Pillars, Lawrence offered his "thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Shaw for countless suggestions of great value and diversity: and for all the present semicolons".

For a modern take on the life of a man who remains one of the most iconic figures of the early 20th century,  click the painting of Colonel T.E. Lawrence, by Augustus John, 1919.  

Officially registered tartan graphics on this site courtesy of The Scottish Tartans Authority.  Other tartans from talented tartan artists may also be featured.

  • Facebook - Grey Circle
  • Twitter - Grey Circle
  • YouTube - Grey Circle

This site is featured on:​   &

9 out of 10 kilt wearers agree - this is almost as thrilling as a good

tartaned kilt flip when going regimental! 

In a tartan mood? Tag along on social media