October 2017 | Rebecca Rego Barry

Lady Chatterley's Check

On August 10, 1928, H. K. Beazley wrote a check to author D. H. Lawrence for a total of £5.2.0 (five pounds and two shillings). According to Edinburgh auctioneers Lyon & Turnbull, the check "was used to purchase three copies of Lady Chatterley's Lover." At the time, two booksellers, Richard Aldington and S.S. Kotelinansky, were "taking care" of the "British stash" of the recently published novel, which had been spurned by UK booksellers due to the book's erotic content. In order to get a copy, it seems a reader would have to send an order to its publisher, Pino Orioli in Florence, who would forward the check to Lawrence in Switzerland, who would then direct one of the two booksellers to actually dispatch the order. On August 17, 1928, Lawrence asked Aldington to post three copies to H. K. Beazley, 19 Churton St., Victoria S.W. (Beazley must have been quite the reader or collector; he regularly listed his "Books Wanted" in the Bookseller and the Publishers' Circular in the early twentieth century.) Some confusion ensued about the check--how could it not?--but Lawrence did sign it, and it was paid into his account on August 21. We assume Beazley got his books.

223038.jpgA pretty piece of ephemera with Lawrence's signature and some interesting publishing history too, the check heads to auction on October 11, estimated at £800-1,200 ($1,060-$1,325).

Image courtesy of Lyon & Turnbull