London: The Associated Press Ltd., 10 February 1960. Photograph. This original press photo shows Sir Winston S. Churchill and Lady Clementine Churchill being driven from London Airport to their Hyde Park Gate home on 10 February 1960 after returning from holiday in Monte Carlo. This image measures 9.5 x 12 in (24.1 x 30.5 cm) on matte photo paper. Condition is good. The paper is clean and free of scuffing. There is some chipping, loss, and wear along the edges and some intermittent bruising to the paper. The verso bears the copyright stamp of “The Associated Press Ltd.”, a published stamp of The Daily Telegraph from 7 April 1960, handwritten printing notations, and a clipping of the caption as it was printed in the newspaper. The original caption reads: “Sir Winston and Lady Churchill returning from London Airport to their London home at Hyde Park Gate yesterday when they returned form their five-week holiday in Monte Carlo. They were accompanied on their flight in a British European Airways Comet jet airliner by Mr. Aristotle Onassis, the shipowner.”
On 16 January, Churchill’s private secretary, Montague Browne, wrote that “the Press in London have been very much stirred up by what they believe to be Sir Winston’s imminent death, and in consequence Monte Carlo is full of journalists.” (Gilbert, Vol. VIII, p. 1308) Churchill had nearly five years yet to live and returned to London accompanied, as the verso caption notes, by Onassis.
This press photo once belonged to The Daily Telegraph’s working archive. 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.
This original press photograph was taken in the twilight of Churchill’s remarkable life and career. Winston S. Churchill was 80 years old when he resigned his second and final premiership on 5 April 1955. During the last decade of his long life, Churchill passed "into a living national memorial" of the time he had lived and the Nation, Empire, and free world he had served. The day after Churchill died, on 25 January 1965, the Queen sent a message to Parliament announcing: "Confident in the support of Parliament for the due acknowledgement of our debt of gratitude and in thanksgiving for the life and example of a national hero" and concluded "I have directed that Sir Winston's body shall lie in State in Westminster Hall and that thereafter the funeral service shall be held in the Cathedral Church of St. Paul.” Churchill's state funeral was attended by the Queen herself, other members of the royal family, the Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, and representatives of 112 countries. It was the first time in a century that a British monarch attended a commoner’s funeral. Item #005341