This Item Has Been Sold

SIGNED Wartime PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPH of Winston Churchill by Edward Steichen

-Signed and Inscribed by Churchill for Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.-


By: Edward Steichen

7 5/8 x 5 5/8 inches

Item Number: 17865


This magnificent original signed gelatin silver print was the property of film legend Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. It is signed and dated in ink: ”Winston S. Churchill, January 1941” on the mount, which also bears the penciled name of “Harrods” and “Copy B-4.”

A gift from Churchill presented shortly after the Battle of Britain, the photograph was taken in 1932 by the eminent American photographer Edward Steichen for Vanity Fair magazine and served as the jacket image for WHILE ENGLAND SLEPT, the American edition of Churchill’s ARMS AND THE COVENANT, in 1938.

DOUGLAS FAIRBANKS, JR. (1909-2000), son of the swashbuckling silent film idol Douglas Fairbanks, became close to Churchill during the war, after enjoying his own great success in Hollywood throughout the 1930s. Fairbanks joined the U.S. Navy in April 1941. When his friend Lord Louis Mountbatten formed Britain’s Combined Operations Command to develop and train commando units, Mountbatten requested that Fairbanks join his staff. Fairbanks helped develop diversionary tactics using dummies, phony wireless chatter and smokescreen recordings, and participated in the planning of all COC operations, including the 1942 Dieppe Raid. His relationship with Churchill during his wartime service in England was close and personal. Returning to the U.S., Fairbanks then shared his espionage knowledge by setting up a secret camp in Virginia Beach under the U.S. Atlantic Fleet Amphibious Forces to train Beach Jumpers, a top-secret troop whose inheritors are today’s U.S. Navy Seals.

The photograph is in very good condition.