POST-ELECTION PAINTING AS A PASTIME
“I have fought more elections than anyone here, or indeed anyone alive in the country…” Winston Churchill reflected in 1953. “But there ought to be interludes of tolerance, hard work and study of social problems between them. Having rows between politicians might be good from time to time, but it is not a good habit of political life.”
In the aftermath of a grueling election season, one imagines that Winston Churchill simply painted.
With a little help from the New York Times, we can join him, vicariously.
A feature article in this week’s Times examines in diverting detail Winston Churchill’s beloved painting pastime, and the extraordinarily high prices that his innocently painted pictures are now commanding posthumously. You can read that article, “A British Bulldog’s Aura Invigorates his Paintings,” HERE.
We, too, have had great fun diverting ourselves with Churchill the painter over the years. We’ve sold three of his paintings; most recently, “Silver Life,” painted by Churchill at Chartwell in 1937 during his “Wilderness Years” — a soothing balm of a still life that captured household Chartwell silver pieces with impressionistic affection. “Silver Life” resided for all of its life at the Chartwell painting studio, before we acquired it directly from the husband of Winston Churchill’s granddaughter, the late-Arabella Churchill, who’d inherited it.
Earlier in our existence, we actually sold two Churchill paintbrushes from the same studio, obtained via the photographer Lou Stoumen, to whom they had been presented as a memento by one of Churchill’s secretaries while Stoumen was shooting a documentary, “The Other World of Winston Churchill,” for the BBC in 1964.
Of course, alongside these implements and canvases we’ve sold a whole lot of books, including a great many of his inspiring paen to painting, the slender volume, Painting as a Pastime. A few were even signed by Churchill, including one First English edition inscribed to perhaps his favorite cousin, Clare Sheridan, a celebrated sculptress who’d shared avidly in Churchill’s discovery of himself as a painter (and maintained a warm relationship with him even after her support for the Russian Revolution divided them politically).
Currently, we have on hand a First American edition of Painting as a Pastime, as well as a lovely 2002 reprint edition signed for us here in the store by the late-Lady Mary Soames, Churchill’s youngest daughter, who wrote the book’s new introduction. We also have an original copy of the January 1951 number of Flair magazine, with its extravagantly illustrated and extremely revealing article, “Winston Churchill: Artist.” Finally, we have “View from Chartwell,” an Artist’s Proof from the Churchill Trust-sanctioned limited edition 2005 lithograph of this gorgeous 1938 painting; perhaps Churchill’s most reverent rendering of his beloved home.
We wish you health and safety, more than ever, and a respite from elections and their deniers.