Martin's Church, Wareham
Oil on board.
Dorset's oldest church, St Martin's in Wareham is a 1,000 years
old and famous for housing a priceless effigy of Lawrence of Arabia.
north aisle of this tiny church, which seats 40 at a push, sits
a priceless effigy of T. E. Lawrence, also known as Lawrence of
Arabia. It was sculpted by the Eric Kennington, the official war
artist for both the First and Second World Wars, between 1936
It's perhaps not the first place you'd expect to find a tribute
by a well-known artist to a man who became famous for being the
only British officer on the Arab front fighting against the Turks.
But, as Merville Gover, Church Warden at St Martin's, explains,
Wareham wasn't the first choice for the effigy's final resting
place: "The effigy was actually made for St Paulís Cathedral.
I think the political unrest surrounding his death meant that
they wouldn't accept him. He was then offered to Westminster Abbey
and they wouldn't accept him. Then he was offered to Salisbury
Cathedral and they wouldn't accept him. That's why he came to
St Martin's. They had to put him somewhere."
Lawrence is depicted in the effigy as recumbent in Arabic dress
with a curved dagger in his hand and a whip to his side. His feet
rest against a block of Hittite sculpture of two fighting bulls
representing his archaeological research and his struggles in
the First World War.
St Martin's, as it now stands, represents the most complete example
of a Saxon church in Dorset. Aspects showing its Saxon origin
include a tall, narrow nave and chancel, late Saxon wall-arcading
in the North West Isle and traces of a Saxon door.