Lawrence, D. H. (David Herbert), 1885-1930

Alternative names
Birth 1885-09-11
Death 1930-03-02

Biographical notes:

David Herbert Richards Lawrence was born September 11, 1885, in Eastwood, near Nottingham, to Arthur Lawrence, a coal miner, and Lydia Beardsall. He attended Nottingham University College, and in 1908 he took a teaching position at Davidson Road School in Croydon. Lawrence wrote in his spare time, and in 1911, with the help of Ford Maddox Hueffer, he published his first novel, The White Peacock . Poor health forced him to resign his teaching job this same year, at which time he became a full-time writer. He soon published The Trespasser (1912) and Sons and Lovers (1913).

While on a visit to Germany in 1912, he met Frieda von Richthofen, the wife of Nottingham University College professor, Ernest Weekly. The two traveled through Germany and Switzerland, and rented a room in Riva, Austria, near the Italian border. They returned to England in 1914, and were married shortly thereafter in London. The years of World War I were spent in the London area, and then in Zennor, Cornwall. They left England in 1919, first going to Florence, and then to other parts of Italy. In 1922, following a trip to Ceylon and Australia, the couple settled in Taos, New Mexico, at the invitation of the arts patron, Mabel Dodge Luhan. In Taos they lived on a ranch with Dorothy Brett, an English painter, and became friends with the painters Knud Merrild and Walter Ufer. Lawrence returned to Italy in 1925, and for the next five years he also spent time traveling around Italy, Switzerland, Germany, and Spain. During this time he published Lady Chatterley's Lover (1928), which was attacked by the press, and copies were seized by the police. At the end of the following year, Lawrence moved to the south of France. He died at a clinic in Vence, France, on March 2, 1930.

Aside from one lesson in painting from George Leighton Parkinson, D. H. Lawrence did not have formal art training beyond the basic teachings he received as a schoolboy. His early works were copies of others' works, created as gifts for his family or friends. Lawrence did not have much opportunity to view original works of art while he was growing up; his exposure to art was mainly through reproductions in magazines, books, calendars, and postcards. In 1906 he received as a birthday gift from the family of his friend, Jessie Chambers, six of the eight parts of English Water-colour: with Reproductions of Drawings by Eminent Painters (London: The Studio, 1902), which were accompanied by a portfolio of facsimiles of the art works. From these facsimiles, Lawrence became more familiar with different watercolor techniques. From that time on Lawrence continued painting and studying art, and even taught art while employed as a teacher in Croydon.

While Lawrence was in Florence in 1926, Maria Huxley brought him four blank canvases, which inspired Lawrence to begin a series of original works. In 1929 he held an exhibition of his paintings at the Warren Gallery in London, but Scotland Yard confiscated thirteen of the paintings because they were considered to be obscene. Facsimiles of the exhibited paintings were published in The Paintings of D. H. Lawrence (1929). Lawrence also published an essay about his paintings, Making Pictures, in The Studio (July 1929).

From the guide to the D. H. Lawrence Art Collection, 1903-30, n.d., (Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, The University of Texas at Austin)


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  • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, 00, GB
  • Vence, 93, FR
  • Eastwood, ENG, GB
  • England, ENG, GB