January 1, 1970

One of Churchill’s most accomplished paintings was painted in Morocco – and it was the only painting he completed during the Second World War, being otherwise totally absorbed, physically and mentally, with his role as war leader. The 18 x 24-inch oil painting conveyed the setting sun lowering over the snow-capped Atlas Mountains, with the tower of the Katoubia mosque in the foreground. Churchill had insisted on taking Roosevelt to Marrakech after the Casablanca Conference so they could both enjoy the spectacle of the sun setting over the snow of the mountains. Churchill insisted on giving the painting to Roosevelt, perhaps in recognition of Anglo-American solidarity in a time of war.

For the past generation, Churchill’s ‘The Tower of the Katoubia Mosque’ has been out of public view. Recently, after exhaustive research, the painting was discovered to be owned by Hollywood stars Brad Pitt and his wife, Angelina Jolie, who bought it in 2011 and kindly agreed to loan it for ‘The Art of Diplomacy: Winston Churchill and the Pursuit of Painting’ exhibition, originally in Atlanta, Georgia, but now extended and on tour in the US.

This exhibition of Churchill’s paintings brought in 34,400 visitors, one in four from outside the state of Georgia, boosting the Georgia economy by $3.4 million, according to estimates released by the Millennium Gate Museum. Visitors from as far away as India have been recorded. ‘The Art of Diplomacy’ has been extended on a tour to Rome, Athens and Savannah until 26 July 2015. Click here for more information.

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