1930’s Churchill painting to leave the hands of the Churchill family.
THE TELEGRAPH, 14 June 2012—The oil on canvas called Still Life With Orchids was painted by the former Prime Minister in the 1930s but never gained public attention as he gave it to a relative.
However, the discovery has led to acclaim from experts, who have described the piece as “technically accomplished”.
The wartime leader occasionally gave away his work, primarily to family and statesmen he admired, but he could not resist attractive women asking him to part with the pieces.
In this case, the recipient was Margot Sandys, the young wife of his daughter’s father-in-law, to whom Churchill gave this painting in 1936 and it has remained in the family ever since.
The Churchill Archives in Cambridge confirmed that Mrs Sandys first saw the painting at Chartwell, Churchill’s home in Kent and it is due to go under the hammer next month.
David Coombs, the official authority on Churchill’s art, will include it in his revised edition of His Life and His Paintings.
Mr Coombs said: “It’s really beautiful, I was thrilled to be shown it.”
“The subject adds to its special interest. A Royal Horticultural Society source suggests that they are Cattleyas with a Miltonia.
“Such complex and delicate forms would be difficult to tackle even for a professionally trained painter and it reveals not only his liking for the flowers, but his characteristic determination to paint them whatever the difficulties.”
Churchill once spoke of being rescued by the “muse of painting” after he sank into depression following his resignation as First Lord of the Admiralty after the disastrous Dardanelles landing in the First World War.
Mr Coombs said: “The fact that Margot Sandys saw the present painting in 1936, confirms its date.
“The 1930s were Churchill’s ‘wilderness years’ when he was out of power but also, perhaps not entirely coincidentally, a period of abundant painting.”
He added that, at that time, Churchill came to know the celebrated artist Sir William Nicholson who, Churchill once said, taught him most about painting.
The 46 x 38cm (18 x 15in) orchids painting will be unveiled by the MacConnal-Mason Gallery at Masterpiece, an art fair staged from 28 June to 4 July at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, London. Bids for the painting will be taken during the exhibition.
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