An original press photo of Sir Winston S. Churchill taken on 28 September 1958 during the first of his Mediterranean cruises with Aristotle Onassis
An original press photo of Sir Winston S. Churchill taken on 28 September 1958 during the first of his Mediterranean cruises with Aristotle Onassis

An original press photo of Sir Winston S. Churchill taken on 28 September 1958 during the first of his Mediterranean cruises with Aristotle Onassis

London: The Associated Press Ltd., September 1958. Photograph. This original press photo of Sir Winston S. Churchill was taken on 28 September 1958, during the first of his Mediterranean cruises with Aristotle Onassis. This press photo once belonged to The Daily Telegraph’s working archive. The image measures 8 x 10 in (20.3 x 25.4 cm) on matte photo paper. Condition is very good. The paper is crisp, clean, and free of scuffing with only some light bruising to the corners. The verso bears the copyright stamp of “The Associated Press Ltd.”, a received stamp of The Daily Telegraph from September 1958, and a typed caption. This photograph captures Winston Churchill apparently dozing with his lit cigar in hand on the first day of the first of his cruises on board the yacht Christina owned by Aristotle Onassis. The original caption is titled ““THE OLD MAN” TAKES A NAP” and reads “Sir Winston Churchill, with cigar still burning, nods as if having a sleep when pictured Sept 28 onboard the yacht “Christina” owned by Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis, at Cartagena, Spain, during his current Mediterranean cruise. Onassis shown at right.” Churchill’s official biography records that Churchill had left the South of France aboard Christina on 22 September. “Comfort was the main aspect of life on board, every aspect of which was adapted to pleasure and relaxation. Here, on this first of what were to be eight cruises, Churchill was able to find a gentle repose, with no demands made upon him.” Roy Howells, who accompanied Churchill on the cruise, recalled: “Onassis’ yacht was extremely luxurious, even down to the gold bath taps made in the form of dolphins. It had its own small hospital and a laundry… There were telephones in every bedroom, each of which had its own bathroom. Air-conditioning was fitted throughout… a Cretan mosaic dance-floor converted at the touch of a switch to a swimming pool…. The salon centre piece was one of Sir Winston’s landscapes.” (Gilbert, VIII, p.1277) The cruise ended at Gibraltar, where Churchill and Onassis saw the legendary apes that Churchill had acted to preserve during his wartime premiership, consonant with myth that their survival was tied to British control. Churchill first met Aristotle Onassis (1906-1975), then one of the world’s richest men, at a dinner party at La Pausa in January of 1956. One month later, Churchill would board the Christina for the first time and was met with “a swarm of photographers and newsmen [who] were there to get their pictures and file their stories, touching off the legend of a remarkable friendship”. (Ibid., 1180) Churchill would ultimately take eight substantial cruises aboard Christina. Churchill’s regard for Onassis was such that Onassis would become a member of Churchill’s beloved Other Club. This original press photograph was taken in the twilight of Churchill’s remarkable life and career. Winston S. Churchill was 80 years old when he resigned his second and final premiership on 5 April 1955. 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.”. Item #005441

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