The Artists

Nicola Rae

My work for this exhibition is an interpretation of the relationship between D.H. Lawrence and the woman who was between 1910 and 1912 his fiancée, Louie Burrows.

I was immediately drawn to Louie when I saw a striking photograph of her as an elegant Edwardian beauty. The fact that Louie kept every letter she ever received from D.H. Lawrence (preserved in the Louie Burrows papers, in the University of Nottingham Archives and Special Collections Department) has enabled me to delve deeper into their relationship.

In my collage pieces, I work with articles of clothing, photographs and carefully preserved mementoes such as locks of hair, love letters and pressed flowers. All these can be evocative reminders of the people, often forgotten and nameless, who collected them in the past. I do not envisage the finished piece of work, but allow the materials and process of making to dictate the final result.

To make the work shown here, I have used materials which of course did not belong to Louie Burrows. Indeed, the fragments I have used have their own history. I use these source materials in a process of ‘re-telling’, acknowledging both the existence of those, now mostly anonymous, people to whom the materials originally belonged – and also paying tribute to the memory of Louie Burrows, whose life was profoundly affected by her relationship with D.H. Lawrence.

My work in a historic library has informed my practice as an artist.

I am grateful to the University of Nottingham Department of Manuscripts and Special Collections for their assistance in researching this project. I would also like to acknowledge the work of Jon Turner, whose publication ‘Louie: her remarkable East Midlands Life’ inspired me to make Louie Burrows the focus for my work in this exhibition.

Visit to see more of my work.