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Military Report on the Sinai Peninsula
Towards 'An English Fourth'
Seven Pillars of Wisdom, The Complete 1922 Text
Paperback edition
'The Mint' and Later Writings About Service Life
Boats for the R.A.F. 1929-1935
reports and correspondence


The Forest Giant


Correspondence with Bernard and Charlotte Shaw
Correspondence with E. M. Forster and F.L. Lucas
More Correspondence with Writers
Correspondence with Edward and David Garnett
Correspondence with Henry Williamson
Translating the Bruce Rogers 'Odyssey'
Correspondence with the Political Elite 1922-1935


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Design notes for The Mint and Later Writings About Service Life

  • Large-format edition, 2009

  • Library Edition, 2010


large-format and library edition

Above: Full-goatskin copies of the large-format edition (2009) and Library Edition (2010) of The Mint and Later Writings about Service Life  


Our two editions of The Mint and Later Writings About Service Life presented different design challenges. In each case, however, the page format was pre-determined.

Large-format edition

The large-format edition was designed as a companion volume to our 1997 Seven Pillars. We were conscious, while working on it, that most people would regard it as the second-most-important text we have published. So it had to be done well. We had space for fairly generous typography. For example, each chapter of The Mint begins on a new page. Rather than summarise Lawrence's comments about The Mint in the introduction, we decided to include relevant passages from many of his letters discussing The Mint in a 38-page appendix.

One slightly eccentric decision was to print the Uxbridge section of The Mint (Parts I and II) on pale grey paper. This draws a visual distinction between the part of the book that Lawrence wrote from contemporary notes and the third section, on Cranwell, which he wrote largely in retrospect.


We looked at colours of cloth and goatskin and concluded that no goatskin close to RAF blue was available. We opted for a fairly dark grey, and, as luck would have it, that particular batch of skins turned out to have some blue in it. We abandoned our initial idea of gilding the top edge (except in the full-goatskin copies), in order to show the different paper-colour used for the Uxbridge section.

For the subscription there were three bindings:

  • Full-goatskin with raised bands on the spine, matching the full-goatskin bindings of our 1997 Seven Pillars
  • Quarter-cloth, matching the quarter-cloth copies of our 1997 Seven Pillars
  • Quarter goatskin, in the same style as our large-format editions of Military Report on the Sinai Peninsula and Towards 'An English Fourth'

We gave subscribers the choice between quarter-goatskin and quarter-cloth. It was not an easy choice. For some people, the goatskin spine proved an overwhelming strong-point. Although it did not match the 1997 Seven Pillars, it would match other Castle Hill Press editions. For others, there was a special attraction in matching the quarter-cloth binding of the 1997 Seven Pillars.

In the end, the quarter-cloth binding proved to be more popular. 


The question of illustrations for this large-format edition was difficult. The power of the book lies in Lawrence's descriptive writing. In principle, any illustration would detract from that. No previous edition of The Mint had been illustrated, except with a frontispiece drawing. Likewise, there seemed no justification for including manuscript facsimiles: we did not do that in our 1997 Seven Pillars.

In the end, we decided to include a frontispiece sketch only: a head of Lawrence in RAF uniform by Augustus John drawn at the beginning of 1923. This was printed letterpress, as were the endpapers - which depict a Blackburn Iris Flying Boat. It was the crash of an Iris, in which several people died, that launched Lawrence on the final part of his service career working on high-speed boats for the RAF. 


Library Edition

Our edition in the smaller Library Edition format was designed as a companion volume to our 2003 Library edition of Seven Pillars of Wisdom, The Complete 1922 Text. Both these editions presented similar problems. In particular, we needed to reduce the page-count.

Reducing the font-size from 12pt to 11pt helped - but as the type-panel in the Library Edition format is also smaller, the number of words on a page is not greatly different. We gained some space by running the chapters of The Mint head-to-tail, as in the Library Edition of Seven Pillars. Other ways of saving space included putting the dates of the 'Later Writings' in their opening line, rather than the line above, and replacing the appendix of Lawrence's letters about The Mint with a historical introduction. These tactics brought the total text-length down from 352 pages in the large-format edition to just under 300 pages in the Library Edition format.

For technical reasons, the page-count of the Library Edition had to be divisible by 32, so we set the length at 288 pages. We could have achieved that by further reducing the font size, but smaller type is less easy to read. Instead, we very slightly trimmed our selection of the later writings about service life. We concentrated on sections where the final page only contained a few lines, so a small cut would save a whole page.


Rather than binding the Library Edition in a similar style to the large-format edition, we made each of the three bindings similar to the corresponding binding of our 2003 Library Edition of Seven Pillars, as shown below. In place of blue-grey goatskin we chose black - the colour of service boots and the oil-stains on a mechanic's overalls. The blue cloth binding is similar to the brown 1997 Seven Pillars. We used the same block for the blind-stamped frame on the front cover. 

all bindings

As with the 2003 Library Edition of Seven Pillars of Wisdom, The Complete 1922 Text, we included a selection of photographs as illustrations. We also reproduced, in a smaller size, the letterpress-printed endpapers that so many subscribers had liked in the large-format edition. The colour frontispiece portrait by Augustus John, also printed letterpress, is included in the quarter-goatskin and full-goatskin 'specials'. 

Related pages

Editing notes
Large-format edition, 2009
Library Edition, 2010

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