Sometimes you just need a good doodle. The times they are apalling.  But a good doodle, especially one from Winston Churchill, can at least make you smile.

Winston Churchill was a compulsive doodler. He famously drew animal doodles in his letters to his wife Clementine (he was “Pig,” she was “Puss.”) In the latter months of World War II, with his time as Prime Minister waning, Churchill drew his Private Secretary, John Colville, a flower.

The flower doodle turned up on a 1945 Colville memorandum to Churchill that we recently acquired at auction from Colville’s estate. The memorandum, written in ink, all in Colville’s hand, on Prime Minister-embossed notepaper,  is undated but clearly was written in 1945 during what would be the last months of Winston Churchill’s wartime Premiership.

Colville writes:

“PM: I attach the precedents for peerage to Lords Chancellor. I gather from Sir A. Lascelles that Mr Attlee does attach a good deal of importance to the Jowitt Earldom though he readily gave way about poor Lord Addison.”

Colville initial-signs his memorandum: “JRC.”

His boss’s reply is scrawled in red ink at the the top: “await full list.” Additionally, Churchill has drawn a bright red flower beside Colville’s initials.

The “Sir A. Lascelles” referred to is indeed the all-knowing, power behind-the-throne courtier, “Tommy Lascelles,” made infamous in THE CROWN, who served as both King George VI and, later, young Queen Elizabeth’s Private Secretary and all-around fixer. Lascelles was a close insider friend to John Colville. Clement Atlee, as Leader of the Labour Party, was Deputy Prime Minister in Churchill’s bipartisan War Cabinet, but was about to be elected PM in July 1945, soon after this memo was written. Atlee appears to have been advocating for the elevation of two Labour leaders to peerages:  William Jowitt, who served Churchill in a variety of cabinet ministerships during the war, was appointed Lord Chancellor by Attlee in his new Labour government; Christopher Addison, who became Leader of the Labour peers in 1940, ascended to Leader of the House of Lords after Labour’s victory in 1945.

Churchill’s doodled flower speaks for itself.

We wish you flowers doodled and flowers alive and blooming, in good health and safety.