And finally… well-thumbed

A copy of the novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover used by the judge in the obscenity trial over the book in 1969 has sold for £56,000 at auction.

An anonymous online bidder picked up the book, which was expected to fetch £15,000.

R v Penguin Books Ltd saw the prosecution of Penguin Books at the Old Bailey, under obscenity laws, for its publication of the novel by D.H. Lawrence. The jury delivered a verdict of “not guilty”, paving the way for freedom to publish explicit material in the UK.

Sir Laurence Byrne, who presided over the trial, brought his copy of the book to court every day inside a blue-grey damask bag that was hand-stitched by his wife, Dorothy.

Lady Dorothy Byrne also marked up the sexually explicit sections of the book on headed Central Criminal Court paper, with comments including “love making” and “coarse”.

Sir Laurence famously asked whether the novel was “a book that you would… wish your wife or your servants to read.”

The jury took a mere three hours to reach their decision, which auction house Sotheby’s said “helped bring to birth a more liberal and permissive Britain”.

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