THE BOOK OF BLOKES
[SIGNED and Inscribed by the Author to Jack Churchill]
First English Edition
Faber & Faber Ltd [London]
8vo (60 pages, illustrated with 29 drawings of 'Blokes')
Hardcover (without Dust Jacket) [Green paper over white boards]
Item Number: 15339
Inscribed and SIGNED in ink by the author — artist William Nicholson — to Winston Churchill’s brother, Jack, on the front free endpaper: “For Jack C. from William N. for Christmas 1942.” Nicholson was a Churchill family intimate. Commissioned by Winston and Clementine to paint a portrait honoring their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary in 1933, Nicholson lived at Chartwell with the family for many months, “leaving innumerable funny little drawings about the house,” according to Sarah Churchill.
This charming book was derived from a series of chalk drawings Nicholson executed over a period of years for his daughter. In each, he completed the portrait of a “bloke” in as few lines as possible, without lifting the chalk from the paper. The drawings are reproduced here in alternating colors of green, red and black ink. Bound in white boards with green pasted labels front and rear, the book is in good shape but the signature has been smeared. Still, a marvelous association and a delightful volume just begging to be rediscovered.
JOHN STRANGE SPENCER CHURCHILL (always known as Jack) was the second son of Lord and Lady Randolph Churchill, and the younger brother, by just over five years, of Winston. After a successful school career at Harrow, it was Jack Churchill’s dearest wish to follow his adored older brother into a military career but the family’s ruined financial state, in the wake of Randolph Churchill’s passing, caused Jennie Churchill to press her youngest son into the service of Sir Ernest Cassell, there to “make millions” as a stockbroker. Jack and Winston Churchill remained devoted to one another until Jack’s passing in 1947.