July 22, 2022

Finest Hour 194, Fourth Quarter 2021

Page 06

Beach at Walmer, 1938
Winston S. Churchill (1874–1965)
Oil on canvas, 25 x 30”
Gift from Anonymous Donor, 2021
Copyright Churchill Heritage Ltd

A rare oil painting by Winston S. Churchill has been acquired by America’s National Churchill Museum at Westminster College through a recent gift from an anonymous donor.

Churchill painted Beach at Walmer in 1938. The scene depicts a beach near Deal, in southeast England. The composition is dominated by one of the Napoleonic-era cannons that still guard the seaward approaches to Walmer Castle, an artillery fort originally constructed by Henry VIII in Walmer, Kent.

In the work, Churchill blended the sandy beach with the blue sky and frolicking beach-goers, recently identified as members of the Churchill family—including the figure of Winston Churchill standing with his back to the viewer staring defiantly at the looming threat across the English Channel.

“The work is an extraordinary and historic painting,” says Timothy Riley, the Sandra L. and Monroe E. Trout Director and Chief Curator. “It is a rare case where Churchill’s painting and politics combine—with a clever self-portrait painted in for good measure.” The painting was made when Churchill was a lone voice warning Britons and Americans of the dangers of the Nazi advances on the continent in 1930s.

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Churchill originally gave the painting to General Hastings “Pug” Ismay, who served as his chief military assistant during the Second World War.

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