Painting as a Pastime, the first edition, finely bound. Winston S. Churchill.
Painting as a Pastime, the first edition, finely bound
Painting as a Pastime, the first edition, finely bound
Painting as a Pastime, the first edition, finely bound

Painting as a Pastime, the first edition, finely bound

London: Odhams Press Limited, Ernest Benn Limited, 1948. First edition, first printing. Half leather. This is the British first edition, first printing of Painting as a Pastime, Churchill's essay about his famous hobby. This copy is finely bound in half morocco, featuring dark red goatskin over marbled paper-covered boards with raised spine bands framed by blind rules, gilt spine decoration and print, contrasting green morocco spine label, silk head and tail bands, and blind rule transitions. The binding is by “J. Fellowes” whose ticket is pasted at the lower left rear pastedown. Condition is truly fine. We note no wear or flaws to the binding, and the contents are notably clean for the edition, with only a hint of the typical spotting, here almost entirely confined to the top edge of the text block. The contents of Painting as a Pastime had been printed in The Strand Magazine as early as 1921, but it was not until 1948 - nearly three decades after his first published words on the subject - that Churchill consented to a book about his hobby and passion. Soldier, writer, and politician, Churchill was perhaps an unlikely painter. Nonetheless he proved both a prolific and passionate one. Churchill first took up painting during the First World War. May 1915 saw Churchill scapegoated for failure in the Dardanelles and slaughter at Gallipoli and forced from his Cabinet position at the Admiralty. By November 1915 Churchill was serving at the Front, leading a battalion in the trenches. But during the summer of 1915, as he battled depression, he rented Hoe Farm in Surrey, which he frequented with his wife and three children. One day in June, Churchill noticed his brother's wife, Gwendeline, sketching in watercolors. Churchill borrowed her brush and swiftly found solace in painting, which would be a passion and source of release and renewal for the remaining half century of his long life. Winston's wife Clementine had opposed the idea of her husband's opining in print on the subject, concerned that he might be belittled by professional painters and others. Clementine aside, it may be that Churchill's comparative reticence on the subject was to keep something personal in the great and turbulent sweep of his otherwise tremendously public life. He wrote, "Painting is a friend who makes no undue demands, excites to no exhausting pursuits, keeps faithful pace even with feeble steps, and holds her canvas as a screen between us and the envious eyes of Time or the surly advance of Decrepitude" (Painting as a Pastime, p. 13). Whatever Churchill's reason for penning and ultimately consenting to book publication of Painting as a Pastime complete with images of his paintings, the relatively few words he offered on the subject add something truly personal and different to the great body of his writing. While the first edition was an attractive enough little book, the coarse, pale green cloth binding proved highly susceptible to soiling and sunning and the thin maroon and white dust jacket incredibly vulnerable to wear. Hence collector-worthy copies are elusive and a finely bound first edition, first printing is an attractive alternative. Bibliographic reference: Cohen A242.1.a, Woods/ICS A125(a), Langworth p.288. Item #004113

Price: $550.00