By NATALIE M. ELLIS
Washington, D. C. is famous for the architecture that houses the primary institutions of the United States government and the lives of those that shape it. Lodged in the very center of this historic city is the National Churchill Library and Center, which is a now hosting the photographic exhibition Charting Churchill: An Architectural Biography of Sir Winston Churchill by Leslie Hossack with beautiful images drawn from her book of the same name.
Set against a stark white backdrop (see above), Charting Churchill explodes with color as Hossack’s photos detail the life of Sir Winston through a series of sixteen stunning, contemporary images of the historic buildings that shaped Churchill’s life. The first image, titled “29 St. James’s Place, Saint James, London”, is a photograph of the London townhouse that Winston (age 5), his parents and his baby brother Jack moved to in 1880, upon their return from Dublin. The images then explore Churchill’s fondness for Blenheim Palace, both his birthplace and the family seat.
The second set of photographs details the commencement of Churchill’s political career, his beloved Chartwell, and many other structures devoted to his personal and political life. Hossack provides her viewers with a contemporary, visual understanding of how each of these locations might have influenced the great man. She created this collection of architectural portraits firmly believing that structures often disclose their own history.
Hossack’s photographs and interpretations are fully set out in her book Charting Churchill. The exhibition, which opened in Washington in May, has already been on display in Newfoundland. The National Churchill Library and Center is happy to provide a worthy, albeit temporary, American home for this compelling collection. You can find Charting Churchill on display in the Library’s showroom through December 2017.
Natalie M. Ellis is Executive Assistant at the National Churchill Library and Center.