POSTCARD MAKES ITS MARK

Derbyshire Life - - News -

A cen­tury-old DH Lawrence postcard found un­der a bed – has sig­nif­i­cantly ex­ceeded its es­ti­mate at auc­tion to sell for thou­sands of pounds.

Lawrence, one of Bri­tain’s fore­most lit­er­ary fig­ures who spent time liv­ing in Der­byshire and used var­i­ous lo­ca­tions in the county in his nov­els, wrote the postcard to Louie Bur­rows shortly be­fore they be­came en­gaged to be mar­ried in 1910 – a woman he de­scribed as warm­ing his heart like a ‘sunny day’.

The postcard, which was in­her­ited by Louie’s great niece Ros Con­nolly, had a guide price of £300-£500 when it went un­der the ham­mer at Der­byshire-based Han­sons Auc­tion­eers – but was con­tested to £3,000. It sold to a pri­vate UK buyer.

Mrs Con­nolly, who keeps her postcard col­lec­tion un­der the bed, came across it when she was down­siz­ing. In 2019, a D H Lawrence postcard, found by chance as it was about to be thrown in a skip at Bil­sthorpe tip, near Ne­wark, sold for £1,500 at Han­sons.

Jim Spencer, who works on pa­per spe­cial­ists at Han­sons, said: ‘What a re­sult! I knew it would do well as we had in­tense in­ter­est ahead of the sale, but to sell for ten times its low es­ti­mate is in­cred­i­ble. D H Lawrence’s lit­er­ary im­pact is very spe­cial.’

The postcard from 1910 reawak­ened a love story from more than a cen­tury ago. Mr Spencer said: ‘The cou­ple never mar­ried but Louie was en­gaged to D H Lawrence from 1910-12. He must have bro­ken her heart when he left her but she al­ways re­mem­bered him with fond­ness. The char­ac­ter Ur­sula in his book The Rain­bow is based on their re­la­tion­ship and her former home, Church Cot­tage in Cos­sall, near Ilke­ston, is also ref­er­enced.’

Mrs Con­nolly said: ‘I was given the postcard by my grandma Con­stance Slee, Louie’s sis­ter, when I was about five years old, in 1955. I started col­lect­ing post­cards when I was four or five as I thought they were pretty. At the time, I didn’t re­alise the im­por­tance of Aunt Louie’s postcard.

‘I’ve al­ways kept my postcard col­lec­tion in my bed­room, of­ten un­der the bed. I came across it again when I was down­siz­ing and de­cided to sell it as tribute to my great aunt. Aunt Louie and my uncle Fred Heath, who she mar­ried in later life, were lovely peo­ple.

‘I knew Louie al­ways had a place in her heart for D H Lawrence – and he loved her. He liked her in­tel­lect. I would like their love story to be re­mem­bered. It’s a mag­i­cal piece of fam­ily his­tory.’

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