Lady Chatterley's Lover - Rare "proof" copy printed for the jurors in the 1960 trial.
D.H. Lawrence

Lady Chatterley's Lover - Rare "proof" copy printed for the jurors in the 1960 trial.

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An iconic artefact from one of the most notorious British court cases of the 20th century - a rare "proof" copy of the Penguin edition of Lady Chatterley's Lover, specially printed for the jurors and key witnesses during the novel's obscenity trial. One of only a handful printed.

This example is elevated further by being a presentation copy from Penguin, with their compliments slip loosely inserted with the ink note "sent at Ken Kendall's request". Kendall (1924-2012) was a journalist and BBC News anchor who arranged the proof to be sent whilst covering the controversy surrounding the book and of course the trial.

In the wake of the Obscene Publications Act 1959, the R v Penguin Books Ltd trial ran for six days from 20 October to 2 November 1960, with Mervyn Griffith-Jones prosecuting, Gerald Gardiner as counsel for the defence, and Mr Justice Byrne as judge. Penguin's successful defence was milestone for the liberalisation of British publishing, and a gateway to the permissive social attitudes of the 1960s.

The printers of this "proof only" copy, Hazell, Watson, and Viney Ltd, of Aylesbury and Slough, were not the same as those used for the general Penguin edition. That edition, which ultimately sold three million copies, was dedicated to the jurors who returned a verdict of "not guilty".

"Kenneth Kendall, who in 1955 became the first person to be seen, as well as heard, reading the news on BBC television, was a survivor from the days when a background in the Coldstream Guards was thought to be an asset for the job. Over 6ft tall, wavy-haired, he became known for his elegant dress sense, and received dozens of proposals of marriage from female viewers" (Guardian obituary). Kendall was at the forefront of BBC News for more than a generation afterwards, alongside hosting the Channel 4 game show Treasure Hunt from 1982 and 1989.

Proof example. Original printed wrappers. A little toned and soiled, still an excellent copy of this notoriously fragile proof.

Published by Penguin Books, London, 1960.