Photographic holdings on D.H. Lawrence, 1894-1995, in the D.H. Lawrence Collection

Scope and Content

The photographs are divided into several groups, describing photographs of Lawrence himself and of his friends and contemporaries; photographs of places associated with Lawrence within England; and photographs of places associated with Lawrence in other countries. The collection is not restricted to images from Lawrence's own lifetime, and some of the images are relatively recent in date.

The series of photographs includes several portraits and informal images of D.H. Lawrence, taken from childhood to shortly before his death. There are also photographs of him in groups and with family and friends, including for instance his contemporaries at the University College, Nottingham, and his wife Frieda, his sisters Ada Clarke and Emily King, Aldous Huxley, Katherine Mansfield, John Middleton Murry, and W.E. Hopkin. Images of Louie Burrows, Jessie Chambers, Ernest Weekley and Helen Corke are present. Portraits of members of his family include his mother Lydia Lawrence, his grand-parents George and Lydia Beardsall, and his uncle and aunt, John and Ethel Staynes.

Illustrations of places associated with Lawrence in England are particularly rich in local Nottinghamshire coverage, especially Eastwood and the surrounding area known to Lawrence in his youth and portrayed in his literary works: Brinsley, Beauvale, Moorgreen, Cossall, Haggs Farm. Other English counties are also represented with photographs of places where Lawrence stayed in Derbyshire, Cornwall and Surrey.

A series of images from abroad includes contemporary photographs as well as more recent illustrations of places which Lawrence visited or was resident in. Photographs are included from Italy, Switzerland, Mexico and France.

Administrative / Biographical History

The photographic holdings within the D.H. Lawrence Collection form an artificial group, comprising images of Lawrence, his family, circle, and places associated with him, which have been acquired by the University from a number of disparate sources and grouped together on account of their form. Photographs which naturally belong within a larger archive group have not been moved to join the La Phot group, but - as indicated below - can be found in their appropriate context.

Although a small number of photographs had been given to the Library in the 1950s, the photographic holdings as a separate collection really dates from 1960, when a major Lawrence exhibition was held in the University's Fine Art Gallery. 'D.H. Lawrence after Thirty Years' was organised primarily by Professor Vivian de Sola Pinto of the University's English Department. A large number of photographs were loaned to the University by private and institutional holders of original images, in Britain and overseas. A number of the owners allowed copies to be made by the Library for future reference, and in some cases presented the original negatives to the University.

Other major Lawrence exhibitions at the University, notably those of 1980 and 1985, have resulted in the further acquisition of photographs. In addition, individual donors have, throughout the years, given original photographs or allowed copies to be made of originals still in their possession. Many of these have come from Lawrence researchers who have used the other collections at Nottingham. The photographic series continues to expand as further donations are received. Some early copy items have been deleted from the series, as their originals have been acquired (e.g. copies of Witter Bynner photographs).

Photographs were defined as a separate group (La Ph) within the Lawrence Collection catalogues by the 1970s. As the result of a thorough review and restructuring of the catalogues in 1993-94, the contents of that group were redistributed, with the majority absorbed within the present group, La Phot. The revision involved a change in reference numbers; a conversion guide is available for researchers who encounter redundant references in citations.

Photographs are also present within other sub-groups of the D.H. Lawrence Collection, notably in the Papers of J.D. Chambers (La Ch), the Witter Bynner Collection (La WB), the Papers of the Weekley Family (La We) and the George Lazarus Collection (La Z).


The photographs are arranged in three main groups: portraits of D.H. Lawrence and his family, friends and associates; places in Britain associated with Lawrence; and places overseas with which Lawrence was connected. Within these groups they are sorted where possible by date, but many are undated, and further accruals inevitably distort the sequence.

Access Information

Accessible in the form of copy prints to all registered readers.

Other Finding Aids

Copyright in all Finding Aids belongs to the University of Nottingham.

In the Reading Room, King's Meadow Campus:

Typescript Catalogues; 17 pp

At the National Register of Archives, London:

Typescript Catalogues; 17 pp

On the World Wide Web:

Catalogue available through the website of Manuscripts and Special Collections, Manuscripts Online Catalogue. This electronic catalogue supersedes, and is more detailed than the typescript catalogues, and users are advised to refer to the online catalogue in preference to the printed versions.

Custodial History

Items in this sub-group were received over several decades and do not share a common provenance. Further details about specific series and items can be found at a lower level of description.