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Lot 186
GREENE, GRAHAM (1904-1991) AUTOGRAPH DRAFT AND FAIR COPY OF A LAMENTATION ON THE DECLINE OF STANDARDS AT THE RITZ HOTEL; PORTRAIT BY AN UNKNOWN PHOTOGRAPHER
Sold for £4,000 (US$ 6,691) inc. premium
Lot Details
GREENE, GRAHAM (1904-1991)
(i) AUTOGRAPH DRAFT AND FAIR COPY OF A LAMENTATION ON THE DECLINE OF STANDARDS AT THE RITZ HOTEL, LONDON, together some 30 lines, the draft with extensive autograph revisions preserving reconsidered readings, the final version 12 lines, 1 page, folio, on headed note-paper of the Ritz Hotel, Piccadilly, with its crest, no date

I wait for my breakfast ordered at seven
All the long day long.
The tea will be black & the toast will be soggy,
Something must be wrong...
...The Ritz has fallen like London Bridge...

Graham Greene's first publication was a volume of verse entitled Babbling April, 1923 (500 copies). He also published two volumes of poetry privately, in 1950 and 1958.

Graham Greene was renowned as a guest of the Ritz Hotel. This poem is PRESUMABLY UNPUBLISHED. Only one poetical manuscript of a poem by Graham Greene has been sold at auction. No poetical manuscripts by Greene are listed in Location Register of Twentieth-Century Literary Manuscripts and Letters, 2 volumes, 1988, and none are recorded as being in British institutions; his papers are largely at Austin, Texas, and the Morgan Library.

PROVENANCE: Gekoski.

(ii) PORTRAIT BY AN UNKNOWN PHOTOGRAPHER, vintage photograph, silver print, seated, half in profile facing right, in a grand chair with his hands resting on the table in front of him, framed with a newspaper cutting about the event he was attending, loose photocopy of a letter by Tom Maschler to Desmond Clarke of Faber's, thanking him for inviting him to the event and lunch, framed and glazed, size of image 7 x 5 inches (17 x 12 cm), overall size 15 x 10 inches (38 x 25 cm), City of London, February 1984

This photograph is believed to be unpublished. The event was a City of London lunch to launch the Book Marketing Council promotion 'The Best Novels' when Greene gave his ten to rival the ninety-nine selected by Anthony Burgess, whom he described as 'an avid but undiscriminasting reader.' It was Greene's first speech in Britain for fifteen years.

PROVENANCE: Desmond Clarke
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  1. Simon Roberts
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