D.H. Lawrence’s controversial novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover was banned in the UK for over 30 years for its explicit scenes and use of then un-printable words. The story of the emotionally charged relationship between a working class man and an upper glass woman did not become available publically until 1960, when UK publishers Penguin won a watershed trial.
The British authorities tried their hardest to intercept copies coming in from the Continent after its initial publication in 1928, however, they were not aware of a British stash being “taken care of” by friends of Lawrence. Getting a copy of this notorious volume in 1928 was not easy but it was possible...
Our forthcoming Rare Books & Manuscripts auction on 11 October includes a cheque for £5.2.0 (five pounds and two shillings) from the Midland Bank Limited, signed to D.H. Lawrence by H.K. Beazley & Co., dated August 10th 1928. The cheque, which has Lawrence's signature on the reverse, is believed to have been used to purchase 3 copies of Lady Chatterley's Lover in August 1928. The provenance can be traced in a series of letters written by D.H. Lawrence.
In August 1928, two men - Richard Aldington and S. Kotelinansky - were taking care of selling the many copies of Lady Chatterley's Lover which had been rejected by British booksellers. Although the authorities were aware that copies of the book were being shipped to the UK from Florence by Pino Orioli, who helped to publish the work, and were intercepting them, they had no idea about the British stash.
The purchaser would send an order to Orioli, who would then send the cheque to Lawrence in Switzerland, who would then ask Aldington or Koteliansky to post the books. On 17th August 1928, Lawrence wrote to Aldington: "Dear Richard, Could you send out the following orders...H.K. Beazley and Co., 19 Churton St. Victoria S.W.1. 3. copies..."
It appears there was some confusion. Orioli claimed that Beazley had not paid him but Lawrence states that he had the cheque in another letter of the 17th August: "Dear Pino, Your letter now, with cheques from Foyle and Beazley...I have written now to Richard Aldington to ask him to send at once to...Beazley. 3. (you say not paid - but I have their cheque from you)" The cheque appears to have been paid into Lawrence's bank on 21st August, however confusion still seems to have abounded, as Lawrence writes to Orioli on 30th October 1928: "Dear Pino [,] This is from Beazley to say he has just paid £5"2"0" to my account, for his copies of Lady C."