University of Texas, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

D. H. Lawrence:

An Inventory of His Collection at the Harry Ransom Center

Creator: Lawrence, D. H. (David Herbert), 1885-1930
Title: D. H. Lawrence Art Collection
Dates: 1903-1930, undated
Abstract: The collection consists of art works by D. H. Lawrence including oil paintings on canvas, works in other media, facsimile prints, and sketches by D. H. Lawrence and Knud Merrild. Also included in the collection are works by other artists including Collingwood Gee, Kai Gotzsche, Knud Merrild, Justin Murray, and Jo Davidson.
Extent: 1 box, 7 paintings (5 framed), 1 sculpture, 4 custom boxes (46 items)
Repository: Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Sketch

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).

Scope and Contents

The Collection consists of art works by D. H. Lawrence, as well as works by other artists that relate to Lawrence. It is organized into two Series: I. Works by D. H. Lawrence, and II. Works by Other Artists. Titles of Lawrence's oil paintings are taken from his Paintings by D. H. Lawrence, edited by Mervyn Levy (1964). Other titles are transcribed from the items; cataloger's titles appear in brackets.

Series I., Works by D. H. Lawrence, is subdivided into A. Oil Paintings on Canvas; B. Works in Other Media; C. Facsimile Prints; and D. Sketches by D. H. Lawrence and Knud Merrild. Works are organized by accession number within each subseries. The twenty-seven original works by D. H. Lawrence were created between 1903 and 1929 and include oil paintings, watercolor paintings, and drawings. Of the four oil paintings in the collection, two (Boccaccio Story and Resurrection) were exhibited in the 1928 Warren Gallery exhibition; Boccaccio Story was one of the paintings confiscated by Scotland Yard. Early works include a watercolor with German text painted for his Davidson Road School student, J. Adderley; two watercolors painted in the autograph album of a Davidson Road School colleague named Smith; and a watercolor seascape painted for his friend, Mary Goddard.

The series also contains paintings on porcelain push plates, two of which were presented to his friend, Kitty Holderness, daughter of George Holderness, the head-master of the British Schools in Eastwood where Lawrence was a Pupil Teacher. Additionally, the collection has Kitty Holderness' autograph album, which includes a watercolor landscape and inscription from Lawrence.

Also present are a number of works created for various literary works. There is a group of five sheets of rough sketches done in Taos by D. H. Lawrence and the Danish artist Knud Merrild of designs for dust jackets and book ornaments for Kangaroo, Studies in Classic American Literature, and Birds, Beasts and Flowers. (Merrild describes this collaboration in his 1938 book A Poet and Two Painters.) Other works by Lawrence include sketches for Sons and Lovers, tailpiece designs for The Escaped Cock, and a watercolor illustration to the traditional ballad "The Two Magicians" (or "Coal-black smith").

Works by Other Artists are listed alphabetically by creator and include portraits of Lawrence by Collingwood Gee, Kai Gotzsche, Knud Merrild, and Justin Murray, and a bronze sculpture bust of Lawrence by Jo Davidson. There is also a bas relief in wood by M. F. K. Fisher of Lawrence's emblem, the phoenix, and a proof of a wood engraving by Blair Hughes-Stanton created for the 1930 Cresset Press edition of Birds, Beasts and Flowers.



Open for research. A minimum of twenty-four hours is required to pull art materials to the Reading Room.

Related Material

Other Lawrence-related works are held by the Ransom Center's Art Collection: a watercolor and an ink and pencil drawing by Frieda Lawrence (Spud Johnson Collection); a watercolor and an embroidery canvas by Frieda Lawrence in a frame built by D. H. Lawrence (William Goyen Collection); an oil painting portrait and a woodcut portrait, both of Lawrence, by Dorothy Brett (Dorothy Brett Collection); a portrait drawing by Peter Evershed of Frieda Lawrence (Peter Evershed Collection); and a pencil drawing of Frieda Lawrence (Georges Schreiber Collection). The Ransom Center also has extensive D. H. Lawrence materials in its Manuscripts Collection, its Library, and its Photography Collection.

Administrative Information


Purchases (R1456, R2030, R2054, R3984, R4060, R4228, R5089, R5180, R5331), and gift (1974)

Processed by:

Alice Egan, 1997, and Helen Young, 2001


Aldington, R. "David Herbert Lawrence." In J. R. H. Weaver (ed.), The Dictionary of National Biography, 1922-1930 (pp. 492-494). London: Oxford University Press, 1937.

D. H. Lawrence & the Visual Arts. Nottingham: Castle Museum, 1985.

Lawrence, D. H. Paintings of D. H. Lawrence. London: Cory, Adams & Mackay, 1964.

Merrild, K. A Poet and Two Painters. London: G. Routledge & Sons, 1938.

D. H. Lawrence Art Collection--Item List

Series I. Works by D. H. Lawrence, 1903-1929, undated

Subseries A. Oil Paintings on Canvas
Painting storage Lawrence, D. H. Villa Mirenda. 1927.
1 painting (oil on canvas), 49.3 x 40.6 cm.
Painting storage Lawrence, D. H. Jaguar Leaping at a Man. Circa 1928.
1 painting (oil on canvas), 37.6 x 72.4 cm.
Painting storage Lawrence, D. H. Boccaccio Story. 1927.
1 painting (oil on canvas), 71.8 x 118.5 cm.
Painting storage Lawrence, D. H. Resurrection. 1927.
1 painting (oil on canvas), 83.5 x 94 cm.
Subseries B. Works in Other Media
1.1 Lawrence, D. H. Am Abend wird man klug... [Landscape with marshy shore, fishing boat; painting mounted on sheet with German poem by Friedrich Rückert]. 1909.
1 painting (watercolor), 8.8 x 14 cm.
1.2 Lawrence, D. H. [Landscape with shepherd, sheep, trees]. Circa 1908.
1 painting (watercolor), 29.4 x 39.4 cm.
1.3 Lawrence, D. H. Illustration to the "Coal-black smith." Circa 1912.
1 painting (watercolor), 26.7 x 34.9 cm.
5 Lawrence, D. H. [Designs on porcelain push plates: Pink and purple roses; Red roses]. 1906.
2 paintings (oil), diam. image 14 cm.
2 Lawrence, D. H. "No endeavour is in vain Its reward is in the doing." [Landscape with deer, trees, painted on leaf detached from Smith's autograph album]. 1905.
1 drawing (ink), 17 x 13.5 cm
2 Lawrence, D. H. "Labor Omnia Vincit, C. M. Burrows." [Armorial device within ornamental border of fruits, angel, snake, landscape with Dutch windmill, and landscape with boat; detached from Smith's autograph album]. 1905.
1 painting (watercolor), 17.5 x 13.2 cm.
1.4 Lawrence, D. H. "He that loves a rosy cheek." [Seascape with boats, above poem on recto; sketch of flowers on verso]. Circa 1903.
1 painting (watercolor), 16.3 x 15.5 cm.
1.5 Lawrence, D. H. [Profile of a tiger's head]. Undated.
1 drawing (pencil with watercolor), 29.1 x 22.8 cm.
3 Lawrence, D. H. "Que m'importe que tu sois sage Sois belle et sois triste." [Landscape with trees, stream of water, painted on leaf in Kitty Holderness' autograph album]. 1910s.
1 painting (watercolor), 16.7 x 22.2 cm.
4 Lawrence, D. H. (attr. to). [Floral designs on porcelain push plates: Violets, with Latin inscription on verso; Rose, with paper glued to verso]. Undated.
2 paintings (oil), diam. images 10 cm. and 10.1 cm.
1.6 Lawrence, D. H. [Dutch windmill]. 1905.
1 painting (watercolor), 9.7 x 14.7 cm.
1.7 Lawrence, D. H. Motives for end-pieces. 1929?
2 drawings (watercolor), 12.5 x 20.8 cm.
1.8 Lawrence, D. H. (attr. to). Palms Poems [cover design for Palms (periodical)]. Undated.
1 painting (watercolor), 21.4 x 14.5 cm.
1.9 Lawrence, D. H. [Coal cars: sketch of coal cars, for Sons and Lovers]. Circa 1913.
1 drawing (pencil), 15 x 21 cm.
1.10 Lawrence, D. H. Sons and Lovers [design for illustration with text, with coal cars]. Circa 1913.
1 sketch (pencil), 20.5 x 13.3 cm.
1.11 Lawrence, D. H. The Escaped Cock [title page design mounted onto letterpress pages 286-296 detached from The Forum, 1928 Feb., v. 79 #2]. 1928.
1 drawing (watercolor), 23 x 14.5 cm.
Subseries C. Facsimile Prints
1.12-15 Lawrence, D. H. [Boccaccio Story; Leda; Spring; Dance Sketch: proofs from Paintings of D. H. Lawrence (Mandrake Press, 1929)]. 1929.
4 reproductive prints, col., 36.2 x 26.5 cm. or smaller
1.16 Lawrence, D. H. Dance Sketch [proof from Paintings of D. H. Lawrence (Mandrake Press, 1929)]. 1929.
1 reproductive print, col., 26 x 30.1 cm.
Subseries D. Group of Sketches by D. H. Lawrence and Knud Merrild
1.17 Lawrence, D. H., and Knud Merrild. Studies in Classic American Literature; Kangaroo. 1922.
2 sketches on 1 sheet (pencil), 27.7 x 21.3 cm.
1.18 Lawrence, D. H. Birds Beasts and Flowers. 1922.
1 drawing (pencil), 21.3 x 16.5 cm.
1.19 Merrild, Knud. Kangaroo. 1922.
2 sketches on 1 sheet (pencil), 21.2 x 15.3 cm.
1.20 Lawrence, D. H. Flowers, salvia hibiscus almond cyclamens. 1922.
2 sketches on 1 sheet (ink), 21.2 x 16.4 cm.
1.21 Lawrence, D. H. Trees. 1922.
2 sketches on 1 sheet (ink), 21.2 x 16.3 cm.

Series II. Works by Other Artists, 1922-1930, undated

Sculpture storage Davidson, Jo. D. H. Lawrence [portrait bust]. 1930.
1 sculpture (bronze), 45 cm. high on base 9.5 x 21 x 17.8 cm.
Painting storage Fisher, M. F. K. Lawrence [phoenix rising from flames]. Undated.
1 bas relief on wood, 24.7 x 20 cm.
Gee, Collingwood. [D. H. Lawrence reading to Reggie Turner, Norman Douglas, and Pino Orioli]. Undated.
1 painting (oil on canvas), 53.5 x 73.5 cm.
Gotzsche, Kai. [D. H. Lawrence, seated]. Circa 1922.
1 painting (oil on canvas), 90.5 x 69.8 cm.
1.22 Hughes-Stanton, Blair. Birds Beasts and Flowers by D. H. Lawrence [illustration appearing on p. 62 of the 1930 Cresset Press edition]. 1930 or earlier.
1 print (wood engraving), 30.5 x 18.2 cm.
1.23 Merrild, Knud. D. H. Lawrence [head and shoulders portrait]. Undated.
1 drawing (pencil), 14.1 x 10 cm.
1.24 Merrild, Knud. [D. H. Lawrence: head portrait with hat]. Undated.
1 drawing (pencil), 12.6 x 10.2 cm.
1.25 Merrild, Knud. The Serapi [D. H. Lawrence: head portrait with hat]. Undated.
1 drawing (pencil), 12.6 x 10.6 cm.
1.26 Merrild, Knud. D. H. L. dark mysterious within himself. 1923.
1 drawing (ink), 10.3 x 9.8 cm.
1.27 Merrild, Knud. D. H. Lawrence [head profile]. Undated.
1 drawing (pencil), 13.9 x 10.9 cm.
1.28 Merrild, Knud. [D. H. Lawrence, seated, with dog in lap]. Undated.
1 drawing (pencil), 13.1 x 6.8 cm.
1.29 Murray, Justin. [D. H. Lawrence; caricature]. Undated.
1 drawing (ink), 50.4 x 23.8 cm.
1.30 Unidentified. Loyal Bidileas Trvsty [coat of arms design]. Undated.
1 painting (gouache), 25.6 x 23.3 cm.