London: Keystone Press Agency Ltd., September 1960. Photograph. This original press photo shows Sir Winston S. Churchill arriving in Nice for holiday on 29 September 1960, his frailty evident as he is helped in disembarking from the aircraft. This image measures 10 x 8.125 in (25.4 20.6 cm) on glossy photo paper. Condition is very good minus. The paper is crisp and clean with only some minor edge wear, creases to the lower left and upper right corners, and light scuffing visible only under raking light. The verso bears the copyright stamp of “Keystone Press Agency Ltd.” along with an additional stamp indicating that this is a foreign picture, a received stamp of The Daily Telegraph from September 1960, and a slightly wrinkled typed caption. The original caption is dated “30-9-60”, titled “SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL ARRIVES ON FRENCH RIVIERA” and reads “KEYSTONE PHOTO SHOWS: - SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL is helped from the aircraft – on arrival in NICE yesterday on way to his holiday as guest of millionaire Onassis at Monte Carlo.”
On 28 September 1960 Churchill, along with Clementine and his private secretary, Montague Browne, left for holiday at the Hotel de Paris in Monte Carlo, owned by Churchill’s friend, shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis. There his spirits were revived with days spent painting. On 22 October he called on President de Gaulle in Nice where the two spent half an hour discussing world politics. As the image testifies, Churchill was clearly in decline. “Churchill’s family and closest friends watched his decline with infinite sadness. At times it was almost unbearable to see so great a life in such a reduced and ever dwindling span.” (Gilbert, VIII, p.1313)
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. Just few weeks after returning to England from this holiday, , Churchill would visit his alma mater, Harrow School, giving what would prove to be his last speech in public. (Gilbert, VIII, p.1316) 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 #005384