EDINBURGH.- Lyon & Turnbull
will sell 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, will be sold on the 11th October 2018 at their Rare Book & Manuscripts Sale in Edinburgh.
The cheque, valued at £800-1200, 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.
The novel, Lady Chatterley's Lover, by D.H. Lawrence, was first published privately in 1928 in Italy, and in 1929 in France and Australia.. The book was not published openly in the United Kingdom until 1960, when it was the subject of a watershed obscenity trial against the publisher Penguin Books. Penguin won the case, and quickly sold 3 million copies. The book soon became notorious for its story of the physical (and emotional) relationship between a working class man and an upper class woman, its explicit descriptions of sex, and its use of then unprintable words.
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."