September 23, 2023

The World of Churchill Collectables: Bookends


Shown here is a pair of heavy plaster bookends depicting two different poses of Sir Winston Churchill. The set was created by sculptor Jon Douglas in 1955 to commemorate Churchill’s retirement as prime minister. Following Churchill’s death ten years later, the set was reproduced and finished in bronze as a fitting memorial.

Douglas had sculpted Churchill once before prior to creating the bookends. This took place in the momentous year of 1940. At that time, Douglas sculpted a standing figure made in plaster and resin titled “Winnie, a Headache for Hitler.” One of Douglas’s prized possessions was a cigar given to him by Churchill during their work together.

Jon Douglas (1905–1995) was a self-taught British sculptor whose work placed him in the Royal Academy. His workshops were in Golders Green and Hendon. He specialized in sculpting people, and his three-dimensional wall busts of popular actors and actresses made in the 1930’s still can be found in many of London’s theatres.

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In 1964, Douglas was commissioned by the Beatles to sculpt them on a cold cast bronze plaque. In 1974, he sculpted a Stratocaster guitar for the UK offices of the Fender Guitar Company. In 1977, he was twice commissioned to sculpt life-sized statues of Elvis Presley, who had died that year. One, called “Elvisly Yours,” depicted Elvis holding a microphone and was commissioned by a London-based chain of Elvis memorabilia shops. The other, depicting Elvis with a guitar, was made for the lobby of the Las Vegas Hilton.

The Churchill bookends are nicely executed and seldom appear on the market. They make a wonderful addition to a collection or library bookshelf.

Brian Krapf’s forthcoming book A Churchill Treasury: Sir Winston’s Public Service through Memorabilia will be published in January 2024.

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