After an export bar was placed on the copy of DH Lawrence’s novel used in court, readers, writers and publishers have joined drive to save it for the nation

A crowdfunding appeal is bringing readers, authors and publishers together to help keep the copy of Lady Chatterley’s Lover used by the judge in the landmark obscenity trial in the UK.

The annotated copy was sold to an overseas buyer at Sotheby’s last autumn for £56,250. But last week arts minister Michael Ellis put an export bar on the book, hoping a UK buyer would be able to match the asking price. According to Hayden Phillips, who chaired a committee of experts advising the government, it is “the last surviving contemporary ‘witness’” to the 1960 trial of Penguin Books for publishing DH Lawrence’s novel, a trial Ellis called “a watershed moment in cultural history, when Victorian ideals were overtaken by a more modern attitude”.

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