Sotheby’s is back with yet another fascinating sale, substantially a series of love letters exchanged between the creator of James Bond Ian Fleming, and his lover and wife Ann. To be up for sale till 10th December, 2019, the offering features a collection of personal and thought-provoking messages shared through the years by the duo.
Chronicled over two decades, these love letters capture the early days of the secret love affair of Fleming and Ann, which later progressed to become feelings of inevitable affection and eventually marriage in 1952. From gossips of their rich friends and narratives of their travels around the world, the letters are scripted across 500 pages and count up to 160 letters. In many instances, Ann is referred to as Darling Darling Baby, Dear Monkey or Darling Pig.
These letters are now up online for Sotheby’s London sale of English Literature, History, Rock and Pop, Children’s Books and Illustrations, which estimates to approximately £200,000-£300,000.
Majorly unpublished, these letters account for a significant chunk of the author’s history and his evolution with fortune and wealth. The writings give the background of Ian’s time in the intelligence department during the war, and go on to reveal his post-war days in journalism.
Further, the love letters also record Fleming’s engagement with his novel writing. He wrote his first manuscript Casino Royale and brought the world-famous James Bond to life in the same year of his marriage with Ann. Dr. Gabriel Heaton, Sotheby’s Specialist in Books and Manuscripts remarked, “James Bond was very much a product of Ian and Ann’s relationship. He started this, both as an outlet for his libido and imagination, and also in an attempt to make money for a woman who was used to being unthinkingly rich.”
The letter correspondence traces Bond’s rising fame, alongside a powerful portrayal of the high society lifestyle that was emerging during the 50s and the 60s. Marriage is a dominant theme in these letters, giving a peek into the unhappy moments of the couple, where they struggled with their perception of each other’s social life.
Quoting Fleming from one of the excerpts in his letter to Ann- “I envy you, your life of parties and ‘the mind’, and you envy I suppose my life of action and the fun I get from my books … I am hopeless and like a caged beast in drawing and dining rooms and there is nothing I can do about it”