As the coffin was lowered into the ground next to his parents and brother in St Martin’s Churchyard at Bladon, within sight of his birthplace at Blenheim, broadcaster Richard Dimbleby recited a poem specially written for the occasion – redolent with Churchill’s own words and phrasing.
Churchill was delighted to receive recognition as an artist when he was made Honorary Academician Extraordinary in 1948, by the Royal Academy of Arts. But not all in the art world were so positive about his talents. In 1958 the assistant director of the Pittsburgh Carnegie Institute declined the opportunity to exhibit Churchill’s painting by referring to one of his other ‘hobbies’: ‘I understand that Churchill is a terrific bricklayer too, but nobody is exhibiting bricks this season.’ The director of the Art Institute of Chicago was more brusque: ‘We have certain professional standards.’ Others were rather more generous.
Paintings by Churchill are still being discovered. In 2012, a previously unknown oil entitled ‘Still Life with Orchids’ materialised, having been in the Sandys family ever since Churchill presented it to Margot Sandys, the young wife of his daughter’s father-in-law. It was put up for sale with an estimated selling price of £750,000.
Churchill’s paintings were reproduced during his lifetime in various publications and many of these originals have yet to be traced (these include those that accompanied his articles in the Strand Magazine in 1921, 1922 and 1946, in the Illustrated London News of 1954 and, most surprisingly perhaps, those that illustrated the catalogue of his Royal Academy Exhibition in 1959).
£100,000? £250,000? £700,000? £1 million? Churchill’s paintings can now command a considerable sale price, particularly if they have impeccable provenance (as in the case of the painting given to Truman). The Truman gift, ‘Marrakech’, (according to the auction house, Sotheby’s, ‘arguably superior’ to ‘View of Tinherir’ ‘in both composition and provenance’) was sold in December 2007 with a guide price of £300, 000–£500,000, achieving £468,700.
At the time of the sale, the Sotheby’s specialist in twentieth century British art said: ‘The rise of Churchill through the art market over the past few years has been remarkable and we are thrilled to be bringing another of his most important and accomplished works to the saleroom at a time when interest in his amazing ‘pastime’ is stronger than ever … ‘Marrakech’ … is a superb example of Churchill at his very best’ (Art Daily). (The less ‘superior’ painting entitled ‘View of Tinherir’ given by Churchill in 1953 as a gift to US General George Marshall, was sold at auction in 2006 by his granddaughter, for £612,800. It had been expected to fetch about £250,000.) A July 2007 auction saw a record £1,000,000 for a Churchill painting, ‘Chartwell Landscape with Sheep’, originally presented to Clare Booth Luce.
In the 1950s, Churchill devoted more and more time to reading the classics of literature. In 1953, he had been reading Trollope, the Brontes, Hardy and Scot, when he heard in October that he was to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. This wasn’t, as some assume, for his work on The Second World War (the final and sixth volume was to be published in November 1953)but in recognition of his life-long commitment to – and mastery of – the written and spoken word. He was disappointed that it was not the Peace Prize. He was in Bermuda when the prizes were to be presented by the King of Sweden in Stockholm – there was no question which event took precedence – and Clementine accepted the award on his behalf.
Influencing Speech-Makers of Today – and Tomorrow Churchill's speeches are often used as inspiration
Churchill’s style of speech-making has been copied by many of today’s leaders, echoing his phrasing, rhythm and language. In February 1941, Churchill made a famous speech to the British, but aimed at the Americans (to summon supplies needed for victory in the war) – his ‘Appeal to America’. He varied his tone, rhythm and hesitation. All this was part of his ‘stagecraft’, a trick of oratory to increase emphasis and effect. He used simple, direct language to get a very clear message across. George W. Bush was to use very similar words and phrasing in 2001, in his State of the Union address after attacks on the World Trade Center on 9/11 (11 September 2001). Listen to George Bush’s speech here; the phrase ‘we will not waver, we will not tire’ comes towards the end, at 6.14 mins. For the full text of his address, see the transcription by the White House, here.
London, 13th October 2015: The Churchill 21st Century Leadership Programme concludes at the iconic Churchill War Rooms with the launch of 16 reports and a panel debate. The panel is introduced by Nigel Hall, Project Director, and chaired by Times columnist Rachel Sylvester.
Launch of 16 Reports and Next Generation Leaders Panel Debate Churchill War Rooms, London, 13 October 2015
The Next Generation Leaders Panel Debate at the launch of the panel reports from the Global Leadership Programme. The launch took place at the Churchill War Rooms in London on 13 October 2015.
Panel includes: Manveen Rana, Aurelie Buytaert, Emmeline Carr, Georgia Baker, Shreya Das, Olly Rees, Matt Smith, James Everson, Lilidh Matthews, Georgia Snyder, Ben Ryan, and James Dolan.
In 1940, Churchill was worried that the Chambers might be bombed while the Houses were ‘sitting’ and between 1940 and 1941, both Houses of Parliament took place in Church House in Westminster. And in fact, during the Second World War, the Palace of Westminster was damaged by air raids on fourteen different occasions.
The incendiary bombs which fell on the nights of 10 and 11 May 1941 caused the most damage. The Commons Chamber was bombed and the roof of Westminster Hall was set on fire. The fire service said it’d be impossible to save both, so it was decided to concentrate on saving the Hall. The Commons Chamber was entirely destroyed by the bomb and resulting fire which spread to the Members’ Lobby and caused the ceiling to collapse. By the following morning, all that was left of the Chamber was a smoking shell.
At the birthday celebrations at Westminster Hall in November 1954, Churchill was presented with a portrait by Graham Sutherland, commissioned by past and present members of the House of Commons and the House of Lords. It was Sutherland’s practice to prepare detailed sketches, almost completely finished works, often close-ups of the heads of his sitters.
In June 1962, Churchill broke his hip during a fall in his bedroom at the Hotel de Paris in Monte Carlo and was transferred to the Middlesex Hospital (he told Montague Browne ‘I want to die in England’ and was flown back in a scrambled RAF jet). He stayed in hospital for two months.
Phase One of the Global Leadership Programme culminated with the publication of sixteen panel reports by international experts. The reports span geopolitics, business and finance, the sciences, society and faith, and explore the challenges facing leaders today and the skills needed for effective leadership in the modern world.
The reports were launched and debated in front of an audience at the iconic Churchill War Rooms in London. Watch videos of the panel debates below and read coverage across the British media.
When Churchill was eighty-eight he was asked by the Duke of Edinburgh how he’d like to be remembered. He reportedly replied that he’d like a scholarship named after him, like the Rhodes Scholarship but for the wider masses.
To get young Americans studying at the new Churchill College, Cambridge, a Foundation was created as a vehicle for the Churchill Scholarship in July 1959 (in fact, the Foundation predates the Royal Charter for Churchill College and has been a steady companion of the College from its creation). Now called the Winston Churchill Foundation of the US, it’s a reminder of Anglo–US cooperation and friendship. It ‘honours Churchill’s name not by looking back at his past but by looking to the future of science and technology as drivers of global security and economic development’ (Winston Churchill Foundation of the US).
Churchill died in 1965 and yet his name – and his legacy – lives on, in the educational organisations that he established in his lifetime and in the initiatives set up after his death, to promote excellence, innovation and leadership in education and research in science, technology, health and welfare and the arts. Churchill cared passionately about the future of his country and believed strongly in the importance of education and research in securing success and leadership in the years ahead.
The privilege of a university education is a great one; the more widely it is extended the better for any country.
Churchill, 12 May 1948, University of Oslo