Charting Churchill: The Studio at Chartwell

Studio at Chartwell, Westerham 2014 by Leslie Hossack

The Studio at Chartwell, Westerham 2014

© Leslie Hossack

After his party lost the general election, Winston Churchill resigned as Prime Minister and became Leader of the Opposition on July 26th 1945. The following year, he determined that he must sell his beloved country home Chartwell. Fortunately, a group of friends purchased the estate and gave it to the National Trust, with the proviso that the Churchills could live there the rest of their lives.

From the time he acquired Chartwell in 1922, Churchill loved to paint there. Eventually, he had a studio, shown above. Churchill enjoyed painting en plein air, but he also worked in his studio, often from photographs of a scene that he had admired during his travels. Churchill painted from 1915 until 1959/60. When he wrote about painting, he said: “We must not be too ambitious. We cannot aspire to masterpieces. We may content ourselves with a joy ride in a paintbox. For this, Audacity is the only ticket.”

During his lifetime, Churchill painted over 500 pictures, approximately 300 of them during the 1930s, his Wilderness Years. During World War II, he created only one painting, in January 1943 in Marrakech, following his meeting with President Roosevelt in Casablanca. He later gave the painting to the President. Churchill’s first painting after the war was completed in France between the election on July 5th 1945 and the announcement of the results on July 26th. No longer Prime Minister, he had time to devote himself once again to his favourite pastime.

The image featured above is part of the limited edition collector’s portfolio created by Leslie Hossack to mark the 50th anniversary of the death of Sir Winston Churchill. She presents locations that chart Churchill’s personal and political life, from his birth at Blenheim Palace in 1874 until his death in London in 1965. THE CHURCHILL PHOTOGRAPHS are part of Hossack’s larger body of work that explores Nazi architecture in Berlin, Stalinist structures in Moscow, contested sites in Jerusalem, a Cold War bunker in Ottawa, NATO’s Headquarter Camp in Kosovo, and buildings linked to the Japanese Canadian internment during World War II.

To view more photographs, please visit Leslie’s website.

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