An original press photograph of Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill at 10 Downing Street on 16 October 1952 receiving Sayyid Abd al-Rahman al-Mahdi of Sudan, posthumous son of Muhammad Ahmad bin Abd Allah, whose forces Churchill fought as a young cavalry officer in 1898 at the Battle of Omdurman
An original press photograph of Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill at 10 Downing Street on 16 October 1952 receiving Sayyid Abd al-Rahman al-Mahdi of Sudan, posthumous son of Muhammad Ahmad bin Abd Allah, whose forces Churchill fought as a young cavalry officer in 1898 at the Battle of Omdurman

An original press photograph of Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill at 10 Downing Street on 16 October 1952 receiving Sayyid Abd al-Rahman al-Mahdi of Sudan, posthumous son of Muhammad Ahmad bin Abd Allah, whose forces Churchill fought as a young cavalry officer in 1898 at the Battle of Omdurman

London: Copyright N.P.A. Rota, published by The Daily Telegraph, October 1952. Photograph. This original press photograph captures Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill with Sayyid Abd al-Rahman al-Mahdi, a leading religious and political figure of Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, at 10 Downing Street on 16 October 1952. The gelatin silver print on glossy photo paper measures 10 x 8.125 inches (2.54 x 20.6 cm). Condition is very good minus. The paper is clean and crisp with some light wear to the edges and corners confined to the margins, a diagonal bruise in the center of the image, and some scuffing to the surface visible only under raking light. The verso bears a copyright stamp reading “N.P.A. Rota supplied by The Times”, a received stamp of The Daily Telegraph dated OCT 1952, and an original typed caption reading, “MR. WINSTON CHURCHILL receiving Sayed Sir Abdel Rahman el Mahdi, K.B.E., C.V.O., at No. 10 Downing Street today (October 16). Sayed Sir Abdel Rahman el Mahdi [sic], together with his son, is on a visit to this country for talks.” While history best remembers Churchill’s wartime premiership, Churchill spent an additional decade at the apex of leadership. After the General Election of July 1945 ended his wartime premiership, Churchill served as Leader of the Opposition until the October 1951 General Election, when his Conservatives outpolled Labour, returning Churchill to 10 Downing Street for his second and final premiership (1951-1955). The events encompassed by these years were in many ways no less dramatic than those of the war years, including post-war recovery, onset of the Cold War, Soviet acquisition of the atomic bomb, development of the hydrogen bomb, coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, the beginning of the space age, and the unraveling of the British Empire. The last of these events had particular poignancy for Churchill, whose early life and perspective were shaped by his service in Britain’s colonial possessions. Few meetings could have been as historically charged as a meeting at 10 Downing Street between Churchill and Sayyid Abd al-Rahman al-Mahdi, who was the posthumous son of Mohammed Ahmed, a messianic Islamic leader in central and northern Sudan in the final decades of the 19th century. In 1883 the Mahdists overwhelmed the Egyptian army of British commander William Hicks, and Britain ordered withdrawal of all Egyptian troops and officials from the Sudan. In 1885, General Gordon famously lost his life in a doomed defense of Khartoum, where he had been sent to lead evacuation of Egyptian forces. Though the Mahdi died in 1895, his theocracy continued until 1898, when General Kitchener reoccupied the Sudan. With Kitchener was a very young Winston Churchill, who participated in the battle of Omdurman in September 1898, where the Mahdist forces were decisively defeated. Churchill wrote his second published book about the British campaign in the Sudan. In The River War, Churchill was unusually sympathetic to the Mahdist forces and critical of Imperial cynicism and cruelty, including the destruction of the al-Mahdi’s father’s tomb on Kitchener’s orders. More than half a century later, it was the British Empire itself that was facing its end. By the time of Churchill’s second premiership, India had already gained long-sought independence and general impetus toward colonial independence was becoming inevitability. Sayyid Abd al-Rahman al-Mahdi was an important figure in the movement for Sudan’s independence from both Egypt and Britain. He succeeded his father as Imam of the Ansar and was patron of a pro-independence Sudanese party, the Umma. His visit to the UK occurred following the Egyptian Revolution of July 1952 which removed both King Farouk and British military presence from Egypt. Neighboring Sudan was intent on its course for independence and Sayyid Abd al-Rahman al-Mahdi travelled to London for talks. He became first Chief Minister of Sudan six days after his meeting with Churchill. Sudan gained full independence in 1956, after the end of Churchill’s second and final premiership. Item #005598

Price: $250.00

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