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Portrait of famous writer DH Lawrence to be purchased by Nottingham City Council and put on display

By on May 21, 2022 0

What is believed to be the last painting by famous writer DH Lawrence is set to be bought by Nottingham City Council and put on display. The Eastwood-born poet is internationally recognized and his portrait was in the possession of a private collector in the United States.

Lawrence had been a teacher at what is now the University of Nottingham and his unorthodox work led him to become an internationally renowned cultural figure. One of his most striking characteristics was the fact that he was an early working-class novelist, having been the son of a coal miner, and had practiced his craft by visiting his local library.

The outbreak of World War I in 1914, however, forced Lawrence to flee the country, having fled to marry his German lover and the wife of his former college professor, Frieda von Richthofen. It was a period of his life that he called the “wild pilgrimage”.

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He then traveled the world and it was while in France that the portrait was painted by Dutch artist Joep Nicolas, who happened to be the brother-in-law of Brave New World author Aldous Huxley. who was Lawrence’s friend. It is one of the few portraits of the author and is believed to be the last ever made.

The board reads: “It was painted by the Dutch artist Joep Nicolas (1897-1972), best known as a stained glass painter of some renown. Nicolas was the brother-in-law of novelist Aldous Huxley (1894 – 1963), the iconic author of Brave New World (1932), who was a close friend of Lawrence.

“In late 1929, while traveling from Spain to Germany, the Lawrences called on the Huxleys in Suresnes, France, where Nicolas was also staying, and so the opportunity arose for Nicolas to paint the portrait of Lawrence. This resulted in one of the few portraits of Lawrence painted during the writer’s lifetime and – almost certainly – the last.”

During his travels Lawrence fell seriously ill, particularly of malaria and tuberculosis, and he died in Vence, France on March 2, 1930. He spent much of his life traveling with von Richthofen and would never return. in England only twice after his departure.

The important work of art is therefore highly sought after. The cost of purchasing the portrait was fully covered by external funding and support from partners and public donations, meaning the council itself does not have to use its own finances.

It has already been flown to Nottingham at the current owner’s expense, to help fundraising efforts, however, the purchase price is undisclosed. Once obtained, it is expected to be placed in a collection of Nottingham City Museums, which will then run a “programme of events and activities at Newstead Abbey and Nottingham City Libraries”.

“The portrait was offered for sale in Nottingham by a private collector in the United States,” the advice adds. “Appropriate due diligence checks have confirmed that the provenance of the work is safe.”

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