In 1925, D. H. Lawrence claimed: “Nothing depresses me more than to come home to the place where I was born”.
And yet a new exhibition at the University of Nottingham reveals that the Eastwood-born author “came home” time and again – in his writing.
Entitled 'Lawrence in Notts: Creations & Re-creations', the exhibition marks the 75th anniversary of Lawrence’s death, and illustrates his enduring attachment to the region, and his fondness for drawing upon the places he knew from childhood as a spring-board for his imagination.
Lawrence was also notoriously unscrupulous in his habit of basing his fictional characters upon familiar faces from his life. Family, friends and acquaintances often recognised re-creations of themselves in the pages of his books, some responding with amusement and pride but others with embarrassment and indignation.
Less well-known, perhaps, is that Lawrence enjoyed re-creating in watercolour as well as in ink. As a young man one of his favourite pastimes was reproducing and imitating the works of past masters.
Some of his paintings are exhibited, alongside a selection of books, annotated manuscripts, handwritten letters, and photographs, of which a few are on public display for the first time.
Many of the items belong to the University’s collection of Lawrence materials, though others have been temporarily loaned from the County’s libraries and from The D. H. Lawrence Birthplace Museum.
The exhibition’s curator, Professor John Worthen, is the former head of the University’s D. H. Lawrence Research Centre and the author of a critically acclaimed new biography. He said: “I wanted to do something to show Lawrence’s relationship with his community, with Nottingham and the locality. This exhibition was actually going to be about something, not just a display of splendid objects”.
The exhibition is taking place in the Weston Gallery of the D. H. Lawrence Pavilion at University Park and runs until 15th July 2005. The Gallery is open between 11am and 4pm Monday to Friday and between 12noon and 4pm on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays.