Painting as a Pastime
Painting as a Pastime
Painting as a Pastime
Painting as a Pastime

Painting as a Pastime

New York: Whittlesey House McGraw-Hill Book Company Inc., 1950. First edition, only printing. Hardcover. This is the U.S. first edition, first printing of Painting as a Pastime, Churchill's essay about his famous hobby. 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. This first U.S. edition followed its British counterpart in 1950. Most commonly, the U.S. first edition is seen bound in a coarse bluish-green cloth. This copy is a seldom-seen and distinctly different first edition, first printing binding variant in blackish-blue linen-grain cloth. We note that both the binding and the accompanying first printing dust jacket are fractionally taller than the more common binding. This copy is a beautifully clean, near fine plus copy in a very good dust jacket. The blackish blue cloth binding is square, clean, and tight with sharp corners, bright spine gilt, and just a trivial hint of shelf wear to the bottom edge. The contents are clean with no spotting or previous ownership marks noted. The dust jacket remains bright and clean, though neatly price-clipped with light wear to the edges and front flap fold and tiny chip losses at spine ends, corners, and upper rear edge. The dust jacket is protected beneath a removable, archival quality clear cover. Soldier, writer, and politician, Churchill was perhaps an unlikely painter. Nonetheless he proved both a prolific and a 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). 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. Bibliographic reference: Cohen A242.2.b, Woods/ICS A125(b), Langworth p.290. Item #005140

Price: $100.00

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