Auctions | October 22, 2014

At Auction: Books Owned & Annotated by D.H. Lawrence’s Jilted Lover

London—A collection of annotated D.H. Lawrence biographies owned by his lover and fiancé Louie Burrows reveal a fascinating insight into the impact Lawrence had on the woman in his life and how passionately they felt about him. The books will be auctioned on Thursday 23rd October during the sale of 20th Century Books and Works on Paper at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions’ Mayfair saleroom. 

Although often surprisingly overlooked, Louie Burrows (1888-1962) and Lawrence had a profound effect on each other. They became friends whilst they were studying together in 1902 and eventually became engaged in 1910, a few days before the death of Lawrence’s mother. The engagement lasted until 1912, when Lawrence met Frieda Weekly, the woman who would eventually become his wife. The two eloped together to the continent that year, and his engagement to Burrows was broken off.

Although Burrows would never see Lawrence again, he clearly had a significant impact on her life. When Lawrence died in 1930, Burrows travelled twice across Europe to visit his grave in Venice. Her notes that fill the margins of The Savage Pilgrimage by Catherine Carswell and D.H. Lawrence A Personal Record by Lawrence’s highly influential lover Jessie Chambers range from those fleshing out descriptions to revealing asides on Chambers’ and Carswell’s narrative.

When Chambers describes Lawrence’s rather melodramatic response to a Sarah Bernhardt performance, (which he attended with Burrows) Burrows' comments in the margin “Was this true!” Later when Chambers describes entering a writing competition with Lawrence and a college friend, Burrows has written her  initials in the margin and then below “He gave me Tolstoy’s ‘What is Art’ as my reward” in response to Chambers saying she won a cheque for three guineas.

Her annotations in Carswell’s The Savage Pilgrimage are much more exclamatory and vexed. In the margins of Carswell’s text, Burrow’s writes “Madwoman” or “What are you getting at admit that he was incoherent” and later when discussing Lawrence’s parents; “Silly fabrication.” Elsewhere Burrows is less explicit simply adding a string of exclamation marks or crosses.

The fascinating and insightful group of annotated works will be offered in Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions’ 20th Century Books and Works on Paper sale and are estimated at £400-600. [Lot 454]

The 20th Century Books and Works on Paper sale will be held at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions’ saleroom in London’s Mayfair on Thursday 23rd October 2014. The full catalogue is available to view and download at