An original wartime press photo of Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill on the balcony of Buckingham Palace with King George VI and his Queen on VE Day, 8 May 1945
An original wartime press photo of Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill on the balcony of Buckingham Palace with King George VI and his Queen on VE Day, 8 May 1945

An original wartime press photo of Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill on the balcony of Buckingham Palace with King George VI and his Queen on VE Day, 8 May 1945

London: Photographic News Agencies, Ltd., 8 May 1945. Photograph. This original press photo captures Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill and King George VI and his Queen on the balcony of Buckingham Palace on the day Germany’s unconditional surrender took effect, VE Day, 8 May 1945. This press photo was once a part of the working archives of the Evening Standard. The gelatin silver print on matte photo paper measures 6 x 8 inches (20.3 x 25.4 cm). Condition is very good plus. The paper is crisp, clean, and free of scratches with only some minor edge wear with a few small image defects, notably at the King's left shoulder, and to the space between the torsos of Churchill and the Queen. The verso bears a copyright stamp of “Photographic News Agencies, Ltd.”, a received stamp of The Daily Telegraph dated 9 May 1945, and a torn typed caption reading “A happy scene on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, showing their Majesties the King and Queen with the Prime Minister.” The caption terminates in the printed date "May 8th 45.” The image may be considered unusual in that, rather than being focused on the crowd and looking out towards the camera, the King, Churchill and the Queen are all captured in profile, the two men leaning in attentively toward the Queen who is gesturing to them. The photo is housed in a removable archival mylar sleeve within a rigid, crimson cloth folder. The 8th of May 1945 was declared a public holiday in Britain. The previous day, General Alfred Jodl and Admiral Doenitz, representing Germany, signed the German unconditional surrender at Eisenhower’s headquarters in Reims; the war would officially end at 12:01midnight on 8 May. Churchill spent the morning of the first day of victory working in bed. He lunched with the King before returning to No. 10 for the victory broadcast where he congratulated the nation on their victory but warned of the new challenges ahead. “We may allow ourselves a brief period of rejoicing, but let us not forget for a moment the toil and efforts that lie ahead… We must now devote all our strength and resources to the completion of our task, both at home and abroad. Advance, Britannia! Long live the cause of freedom! God save the King!” Churchill then left for Parliament in an open car, swarmed by cheering crowds for the entire trip. He gave the same speech before the Houses where all Members save one rose and cheered heartily. At 4:30 Churchill went to Buckingham Palace along with the Chiefs of Staff and the War Cabinet. There he joined the King, Queen, and two Princesses on the balcony, waving to the thousands of jubilant Britons assembled in the mall below. He then made his way to the Home Office and the Ministry of Health. The cheering crowds continually demanded to see the Prime Minister and their leader happily acquiesced, appearing on the balcony and giving a few words. By 10:30 the crowd demanded another speech. Churchill re-emerged on the balcony of the Ministry of Health and delivered a recounting of Britain’s perilous year fighting the constant threat of German invasion. “There we stood, alone. Did anyone want to give in?” “No!” the crowd roared back. “Were we downhearted?” “No!” “Now we have emerged from one deadly struggle – a terrible foe has been cast on the ground and awaits our judgement and our mercy.” The crowds in Parliament Street celebrated through the night and into the next day. 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, 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 #005257

Price: $500.00