London: United Press International (UK) Ltd., 17 January 1965. Photograph. This original press photo of Lady Clementine Churchill was taken on 16 January 1965, the day after the stroke from which precipitated Sir Winston S. Churchill’s death on 24 January 1965. The poignant image of Lady Churchill, taken through a rain streaked car window, measures 11.75 x 9.5 in (29.8 x 24.1 cm) on glossy photo paper. Condition is good minus with wear to the edges, rumpled corners, a spot of silver paint, and light scuffing visible only under raking light. There is some loss to the upper right corner. This image features original, hand painted retouching of Lady Churchill’s hair and face to enhance contrast for publication. The verso bears the copyright stamp of “UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL (UK) LTD”, a purple publication stamp of The Daily Telegraph from 17 January 1965, a typed caption, a clipping of the caption as it was printed in the newspaper, and handwritten printing notations.
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.
On 15 January 1965 Winston Churchill suffered a stroke and for the majority of the next nine days lay in a coma. The caption on the verso of this photograph notes that here Lady Churchill was taking a break from “her constant watch at her husband’s bedside to go for a short drive with her daughters.” 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.
Clementine Churchill, nee Clementine Hozier, first met Winston at a ball in 1904, where he made a poor impression. In March 1908 she was placed next to Winston at a dinner party, where he apparently made a better impression; they married on 12 September 1908. Their marriage brought five children: Diana (b. 1909); Randolph (b. 1911); Sarah (b. 1914); Marigold (b. 1918); and Mary (b. 1922). To their lifelong marriage Clementine brought "a shrewd political intelligence. She supplied balance to Churchill at two levels: her more equable nature ensured that she moderated the depth of his depressions, and her good judgment helped to ward off political mistakes." (ODNB) Winston Churchill's life and career were tumultuous and relentlessly eventful, so Clementine's married life was perhaps inherently not without stress, challenges, and sadness. Nonetheless, their marriage appears to have been a truly effective and intimate partnership. "Throughout their married life, even if separated for only a few days, Clementine and Winston wrote spontaneous and informal letters to one another, intimately affectionate in tone, using their pet names Pug and Kat and reinforced with appropriate animal drawings." (ODNB) ‘Marriage was her vocation’, said a newspaper leading article at her death. (The Times, 13 Dec 1977). Item #005359