David Cornwell - John le Carré - is considered to be one of the most important writers of the post-war era, with an impressive list of publications in the spy genre. Since the 1960s, his tales of espionage have entertained audiences internationally.
Le Carré is famous as the creator of George Smiley and the author of Cold War spy novels such as Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy - filmed once for television with Sir Alex Guinness and more recently for cinema with Gary Oldman in the lead role - which defined the form. Since the 1990s he has increasingly been regarded as one of the great English language novelists of the modern period, and a caustic chronicler and critic of British political morality. He declined honours and literary prizes from the UK with vehemence, saying a writer should remain on the outside looking in, but was awarded almost in spite of himself the Goethe Medal, the Légion des Arts et des Lettres and the Olof Palme Prize.
We are delighted to be offering this desk and chest of drawers which were used by Le Carré from the end of 2009 until his death in 2020. They were acquired from his friend of almost fifty years, Gerald Moran, and were used in his workspace in London for the creation of all of his final novels. On this desk, he wrote A Delicate Truth (2013), A Legacy of Spies (2017, the companion volume to The Spy Who Came In From The Cold), Agent Running In The Field (2019), and Silverview (published posthumously in 2021). He also wrote his memoir, The Pigeon Tunnel (2016), at this desk. Within the elegant drawers of the chest, Le Carré safely stored his manuscripts during the editing process.
These finely crafted pieces of furniture therefore represent an important piece of literary history: it was where Le Carré transported his stories from pen to paper, and where the journeys of his novels first took shape. The pieces were designed by Chi Wing Lo, a prominent architect and designer who has been shaping the direction of furniture at Giorgetti since 1996, and whose work achieves a timelessness that has led to him achieving international acclaim. The ‘Eos’ line at Giorgetti represents Chi Wing Lo’s refined taste and exquisite craftmanship, with elegant lines and a smooth sense of motion that produces an overall impression of reflection that would be the perfect place to put pen to paper.
Le Carré will also have worked on his final and still-unpublished project, The George Smiley Years, upon this desk and chest of drawers.
Lyon & Turnbull is a leading auction house in Modern, Post-War and Contemporary Design, holding specialist live and online Design auctions in London and Edinburgh that are known for their international reach and strong results. 20th and 21st Century Design is a buoyant and exciting area of the market. With a wealth of experience, our Modern Design team offer expertise encompassing a range of media including ceramics, furniture, sculpture, lighting and textiles, holding auctions offering exceptional and important design from the last 100 years
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