An original press photo of Sir Winston S. Churchill wreathed in smoke from his cigar as he is driven away from 10 Downing Street on 15 February 1956
An original press photo of Sir Winston S. Churchill wreathed in smoke from his cigar as he is driven away from 10 Downing Street on 15 February 1956

An original press photo of Sir Winston S. Churchill wreathed in smoke from his cigar as he is driven away from 10 Downing Street on 15 February 1956

London: P.A. Reuter Photos Ltd., February 1956. Photograph. This is an original press photograph of Winston S. Churchill wreathed in smoke from his cigar as he is driven away from 10 Downing Street on 15 February 1956. This image measures 10 x 8 in (25.4 x 20.3 cm) on glossy photo paper. Condition is very good minus. The paper is clean and free of scuffing with some light wear and cockling along the edges and minor intermittent bruising. The verso bears the copyright stamp of “P.A.-Reuter Photos Ltd.”, a received stamp of The Daily Telegraph from February 1956, and a typed caption. The original caption is titled “EXIT SIR WINSTON IN A CLOUD OF SMOKE” and reads “Wreathed in smoke clouds from his cigar, SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL drives away from No. 10 Downing Street, London, after lunching with the Prime Minister to-day (Wednesday). It was thought likely that Sir Anthony would give Sir Winston an outline of his Washington talks with President Eisenhower. February 15th 1956." Churchill’s successor, Anthony Eden, had recently concluded talks with President Eisenhower in Washington on 1 February 1956. Less than a year earlier, on 5 April 1955, Churchill had resigned his second and final premiership at the age of 80. It was only a decade or so after Eden had hoped. Eden had been Churchill’s “right-hand man for fifteen years – the longest-serving heir apparent in British political history”. (Roberts, Walking with Destiny, pp.948-49) His long-promised premiership was proved fraught and arguably diminished, rather than crowned, his stature and reputation. By January 1957, he had resigned, undone by both ill health and the Suez crisis. Eisenhower would play a significant role in Eden’s fall; the American’s implacable opposition to British occupation of the Suez forced Britain’s humiliating withdrawal. Life in February 1956 was fundamentally different than it had been a year ago. Churchill had irrevocably relinquished the reins of power. Four days before meeting with Eden, Churchill wrote to his friend Wendy Russell, with whom he had just stayed in France, “…I get older as the days pass.” (Gilbert, VIII, p.1181) During the last decade of his long life, Churchill passed "into a living national memorial" of the time he had lived and the Nation, Empire, and free world he had served, culminating in his death on 24 January 1965 and his remarkably elaborate state funeral. In attendance were “six sovereigns, six presidents and sixteen prime ministers” as well as representatives of 112 nations. Queen Elizabeth II also attended – the first time in a century that a British monarch attend a commoner’s funeral. Before the service in St. Paul’s cathedral, Churchill’s coffin had passed through the countryside on a train. The Oxford don, Dr. A. L. Rowse, recorded “The Western sky filled with the lurid glow of winter sunset; the sun setting on the British Empire.” This press photo once belonged to The Daily Telegraph’s working archive. During the first half of the twentieth century, photojournalism grew as a practice, fundamentally changing the way the public interacted with current events. Newspapers assembled expansive archives, including physical copies of all photographs published or deemed useful for potential future use, their versos typically marked with ink stamps and notes providing provenance and captions. Photo departments would often take brush, paint, pencil, and marker to the surface of photographs themselves to edit them before publication. Today these photographs exist as repositories of historical memory, technological artifacts, and often striking pieces of vernacular art. Item #005424

Price: $65.00

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