An original wartime press photograph of Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill and his wife, Clementine, seated under the flag in a Naval Patrol vessel on 25 September 1940 during the Battle of Britain, on their way to view Luftwaffe bomb damage to the London docks
An original wartime press photograph of Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill and his wife, Clementine, seated under the flag in a Naval Patrol vessel on 25 September 1940 during the Battle of Britain, on their way to view Luftwaffe bomb damage to the London docks

An original wartime press photograph of Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill and his wife, Clementine, seated under the flag in a Naval Patrol vessel on 25 September 1940 during the Battle of Britain, on their way to view Luftwaffe bomb damage to the London docks

London: British Official Photograph supplied by BIPPA, published by The Daily Telegraph, 27 September 1940. Photograph. This original press photograph captures Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill and his wife, Clementine, seated under the flag at the stern of a Naval Patrol vessel on 25 September 1940 on their way to view Luftwaffe bomb damage to the London Docks. This photograph is an official government photo “passed for publication by the Ministry of Information.” The gelatin silver print on heavy matte photo paper measures 9.5 x 7.5 inches (24.1 x 17 cm). This press photo was once a part of the working archives of The Daily Telegraph. Condition is very good minus. The paper is crisp with some wear along the edges, some minor soiling, and pin holes in each corner all of which are within the margins. The verso bears a copyright stamp reading “British Official Photography | Crown Copyright Reserved | Supplied By | BIPPA”, a published stamp of The Daily Telegraph dated 27 SEP 1940, handwritten notations, and a typed caption reading, “Seated under the flag at the stern of a Naval Auxiliary Patrol vessel, the Prime Minister was accompanied by Mrs. Winston Churchill when he paid a visit to some of the London Docks. During his tour he saw areas that had sustained considerable damage.” This photograph is housed in a removable, archival mylar sleeve within a rigid, crimson cloth folder. When Churchill became Prime Minister in May 1940, the war for Britain was not so much a struggle for victory as a struggle to survive. Churchill’s first year in office saw, among other near-calamities, the Battle of the Atlantic, the fall of France, evacuation at Dunkirk, and the Battle of Britain. Hitler intended the Battle of Britain as the preparatory effort to gain air superiority prior to an invasion of England. The question was far from settled when this photograph was taken. Indeed, at the time this photo was taken, invasion by Nazi Germany remained a credible threat. Just weeks earlier, on 4 September 1940 Hitler gave a speech in Berlin promising to “erase their [Britain’s] cities from the earth” in response to “Herr Churchill’s” promise to increase attacks on German cities. On 7 September the Luftwaffe commenced the Blitz; by the day’s end the Germans had dropped 447 tons of bombs on London, killing 448 civilians. For the following 57 days London was relentlessly bombed. Gilbert notes that “During the week ending on noon on September 26, more than 1,500 civilians had been killed in Britain, 1,300 of them in London.” (Vol. VI, 812) Nevertheless, Churchill projected confidence. In a 24 September letter to Chamberlain he wrote, “I do not think that they will continue at their present height for many weeks… Let us go on together through the storm. These are great days.” (ibid.) 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 #005231

Price: $450.00