The recent biography by Adam Sisman spends a bit of time on the early professional life of le Carré when he was attempting to become a working artist. He didn’t have much success as a working painter, to our advantage as readers, but he did get at least one commission for a book cover.
The book was They Fought for Children by and has obviously has nothing to do with spies or spying instead looking at, surprisingly enough, people who fought for the rights of children. Interesting that his cover was for a book on human rights given that so much of his later work, especially The Constant Gardner, focused on that subject.
I picked up a copy for my collection and here’s a look at the cover art.
We don’t learn if painting was something that he kept up with but we do hear about the occasional doodle. Is there an alternate world with no John le Carre but a famous, or even not so famous, artist named David Cornwell?