August 1, 2020


Seventy-five years ago, following his defeat in the general election in July and the final end of the Second World War in August, Winston Churchill embarked on his first truly extended vacation since before the war, ending up in Monaco and Antibes but flying first to Field Marshal Sir Harold Alexander’s Italian villa on the shore of Lake Como.

He was accompanied by his daughter Sarah; his doctor, Lord Moran; his secretary, Elizabeth Layton; his valet, Frank Sawyers; and a new bodyguard, Sergeant Davies. In Italy he painted, ate well, drank champagne, read The Golden Fleece by Robert Graves, bathed in Lake Lugano, and enjoyed walking barefoot on the villa’s marble floors. He returned to London following twenty-five days “of sunshine” with fifteen new paintings completed.

Barry Singer is the author of Churchill Style (Abrams Image, 2012) and the proprietor of Chartwell Booksellers in New York City.

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