February 26, 2023

The Art of Being Winston Churchill: Butterflies


In the spring of 1939, after reading an article in Good Gardening magazine titled “Stock Your Garden with Butterflies,” Winston Churchill’s youthful passion for butterflies was reawakened. He contacted a nearby butterfly farm for assistance and direction in bringing butterflies to Chartwell in greater numbers. Before much could be done, however, war intervened and Chartwell was closed up.

Upon his return to Chartwell in 1945, Churchill rekindled his butterfly aspirations. The butterfly farm’s owner, L. W. Newman and his son L. Hugh, worked closely with Churchill to realize his dream. The younger Newman fashioned a butterfly house for Chartwell. Over the ensuing years, Churchill would spend a good deal of time there, watching and waiting for the various species to emerge from their chrysalises.

“He carefully avoided killing a single insect,” L. Hugh Newman later recalled. “It was live butterflies he wanted to see flying in his garden.”

2024 International Churchill Conference

Join us for the 41st International Churchill Conference. London | October 2024

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

A tribute, join us




Get the Churchill Bulletin delivered to your inbox once a month.