London: Supplied by Topical Press Agency, published by Evening Standard, 2 August 1927. Photograph. This original press photograph shows Winston S. Churchill, then Chancellor of the Exchequer, on holiday in Deauville, France in 1927. This press photo once belonged the Evening Standard’s working archive. The gelatin silver print on matte photo paper measures 7.125 x 9.5 in (18.1 x 24.1 cm). Condition is good plus. The paper is crisp and clean with pin holes in the margins of the upper corners, a loss to the margin of the lower left corner, a hint of some silvering to the dark areas of the image, and some light bruising and scuffing visible only under raking light. This press photo once belonged to the Evening Standard’s working archive. The verso bears the copyright stamp of “Topical Press Agency”, a stamp reading “Original to be returned to Topical Press Agency”, a stamp from the library of the Evening Standard dated 2 Aug 1927, and a handwritten caption over which is pasted a typed caption. The caption is titled: “PROMINENT SOCIETY AT DEAUVILLE DURING AUGUST HOLIDAY” and reads “Mr. Winston Churchill, Lady Stanley, Duchess of Sutherland, Lady Betty Butler at Deauville.”
This photograph captures Winston Churchill, then Chancellor of the Exchequer, on holiday in Deauville, France as the guest of the Duke and Duchess of Sutherland in August of 1927. When this image was captured, despite the vicissitudes of his Chancellorship, Churchill at 52 years old was at a peak of influence and power. He did not know that the long decade of his wilderness years lay ahead. After resigning his Chancellorship following the electoral defeat of his Government in mid-1929, Churchill would spend almost the entirety of the 1930s out of power and out of favor, frequently at odds with both his Party leadership and prevailing public sentiment. Nor could he know that the premiership would finally be his almost thirteen years after this image was captured in a Britain struggling desperately to survive and in a world almost unrecognizable to that of the summer of 1927.
Churchill’s 1927 summer holiday occurred months following his third Budget Speech of 11 April, of which Stanley Baldwin wrote “The scene was quite sufficient to show that Mr Churchill as a star turn has a power of attraction which nobody in the House of Commons can excel.” (Gilbert Vol. V, 233) Churchill began his speech “We are met this afternoon under the shadow of the disasters of last year.” The British General Strike of 1926 began on May 4 of that year and presented a major national crisis. By some estimates, 1.5 to 1.75 million workers were involved. In addition to the revenue lost from the strike the nation was still suffering under the burden of Britain’s war debt to the US. The solution included extra taxes on goods ranging from matches to tobacco to imported wine coupled with lowering taxes on industries to promote production. However, by early summer Churchill’s de-rating scheme was met with skepticism in both the public and in the government. During a 29 June Cabinet discussion he scribbled on a piece of paper, “A wave of negativism. People don’t want anything done in any direction. ‘fed-upism’” (Gilbert, V, 243).
Such negativism was reflected in the reporting on Churchill’s summer holidays. One London paper identified Churchill as the “Terror of the Tax-Payers.” A caption of a photograph of Churchill covering his head with a beach towel read “perhaps he was trying to conceal his identity from the assembled tax-payers, as he feared some vengeance might be wreaked on him!” It was during his holidays this summer, in France, at Chartwell, and in Amsterdam, that Churchill began work on the autobiography of his childhood and early careers as a soldier and war correspondent that would be published in 1930 as My Early Life. Item #005329