Original vintage photograph.
13 x 18 cm. Original nitrate silver print.
HRH King Abdulaziz ibn Sa'ud standing before his tent with Sir Gilbert Clayton and George Habib Antonius during one of their pivotal meetings at which they negotiated the Treaty of Jeddah, in which the UK recognized the Ibn Saud's sovereignty over Hejaz and Nejd. Clayton had been Chief of Arab Bureau over T. E. Lawrence when he helped facilitate the beginning of the Arab Revolt. Lawrence praises Clayton in his "Seven Pillars of Wisdom" (1935): "Clayton made the perfect leader for such a band as we were".
At the centre of the photograph is King Abdulaziz, the first monarch of Saudi Arabia and father of the Sa'ud dynasty. He began his conquests by retaking his family's ancestral homeland of Riyadh in 1902. In 1925 he took Hejaz and in 1932 would unite all his dominions into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In 1925 and 1927 Clayton made important voyages to Jeddah to meet with King Abdulaziz over the future of the Arabian Peninsula. These conferences culminated in the pivotal 1927 Treaty of Jeddah, in which the United Kingdom recognized the King's sovereignty over Hejaz and Nejd, and in return Abdulaziz would hold back his forces from attacking the neighboring British protectorates. As recently revealed by the release of British Intelligence documents, the two continued to have secret meetings in 1928 to settle the borders of present-day Iraq with the emerging Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The records of these meetings, mostly typescripts and carbon copies, sold at Sotheby's in 2010 for more than $500,000. Photographic records of these critical and closely guarded negotiations are extremely rare; the only other one known is in the personal collection of the Antonius family. Even the Sotheby's archive included only photographs and slides of Clayton's funeral, and none of his meetings with Ibn Saud.
With French press caption printed on the reverse ("photo Meurisse - mention obligatoire").