Lady Chatterley’s Lover book used in groundbreaking court case to be auctioned

Book lovers could get their hands on a little bit of history when an important copy of Lady Chatterley’s Lover goes up for auction.

This particular copy of the book was used by the judge who presided over the famous obscenity trial in 1960.

It was one of the most notorious trials in British literary history and led to a new era of liberalisation when Penguin Books were found not guilty.

The paperback copy is to be sold at auction next month.

In 1960, the book by author DH Lawrence was tried for obscenity thanks to its racy tale of a passionate affair between an aristocrat and her husband’s gamekeeper.

This copy, used by the judge, Sir Lawrence Bynre, was central to the proceedings.

He brought it to court with him every single day, but carried it in a damask bag that had been hand-stitched by his wife to help him keep it discreet and out of sight from press photographers.

His helpful wife, Lady Dorothy Byrne, read the book before the trial and marked up all the sexually-explicit passages for him.

She compiled a list of the sultry material, adding her own comments alongside page numbers, telling him of extracts that detailed "making love" or included "coarse" material.

Auction house Sotheby’s describes it as "perhaps the most important copy of the novel to have survived".

It goes on sale for October 30.

The 1960 trial became almost a piece of legal theatre.

People in the courtroom couldn’t help but laugh with the prosecutor famously asked: "Would you approve of your young songs, young daughters – because girls can read as well as boys – reading this book?

"Is it a book that you would even wish your wife or your servants to read?"

The defence called 35 leading literary and academic figures to give their professional opinions.

The jury took three hours to find the publishers not guilty of obscenity, and the case came to encapsulate the clash between the old establishment of literary arts and the new wave of liberalisation.

Penguin went on to sell out of its print run of 200,000 copies in just one day.

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