Roseberys first Fine & Decorative sale of 2024 was led by a collection of over 90 lots from the Cornish home of the late David Cornwell, better known as esteemed spy novelist John Le Carré. Highlights included a unique Wainscot chair made by Roland Fraser for Le Carré’s 80th birthday, and carved with a mole to one side, a witty reference to deep-cover spies ‘burrowing into the heart of the Western Establishment’. Competitive online bidding ended realising a price of £1,246. A beautiful Italian marble model of Cupid, in the manner of Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, achieved the top price of the collection at £9,184 selling to a US bidder (lot 306).

Lot 375:  Please note additional provenance – this lot was made by Roland Fraser in 2011

on the occasion of David Cornwell’s 80th birthday. 


Anna Evans, Head of Sale, commented “It was a pleasure to offer the collection of John Le Carré, alongside other privately consigned, fresh to the markets items. Clients responded with heated bidding on many lots and we are particularly delighted with the results for the Charles II letter which realised £7,216 and a rare Dutch East India Company goblet dating to c.1740 which sold for more than three times its estimate at £5,510 (lot 424).


Lot 582: Royal Interest; A Charles II letter, dated 1660


The letter signed by Charles II, written in September 1660 mere months after the restoration of the monarchy is a historic document giving insight into an important and turbulent time in British history, and was a hit with buyers, selling to a telephone bidder amid intense online competition. Other notable lots in the books and manuscripts section of the sale included four Harry Potter books signed by J K Rowling, £3,936 (lot 575) and an autograph letter fragment signed by theoretical physicist Albert Einstein, £3,149 (lot 584).


Lot 521: An Italian bill (roncone), Venetian,

early 16th century


The outstanding highlight from a fine collection of halberd and polearms, was an early 16th century Italian roncone made in Venice in the early 16th century. After fierce international online bidding the lot achieved a price of £1,968.


Lot 686: A Louis XVI parcel-gilt, cream and blue-painted lit en chaire a precher,

last quarter 18th


The furniture section of the sale provided further noteworthy prices, including a Louis XVI painted lit en chaire a precher, dating to the last quarter of the 18th century, and dressed in highly fashionable fabrics by Robert Kime Ltd, £5,773; and a large eight panel folding room screen, gilt decorated with Chinoiserie fans and designed by Nicky Haslam for the St James apartment of the late Dodi Heath, an American actress of the 1950s and 60s, £3,936.



Lot 616: A black painted folding room screen,

designed by Nicky Haslam, c.1970s