Art of le Carré

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?


4 thoughts on “Art of le Carré

  1. Pingback: Le Carré, Revisited  – Spy Write

  2. I am reading the Sisman bio at present and sought this cover out out of curiosity… this conflicted, indecisive young man could have gone in any number of directions, that much is obvious. I treasure his works, but this is surprising proof of his ability as a artist. Love the houses, quirky… the ‘reaching for the moon’ a touch hackneyed, possibly, but I like this very much. Thank You!.

    1. Yes, it’s fun to catch a glimpse of what might have been. His illustrations for Maxwell Knight’s books are also supposed to be worth checking out.

  3. Pingback: The Spy Who – The Art – Part 5 – Spy Write

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