London: Keystone Press Agency Ltd., 2 April 1963. Photograph. This is an original press photo of Winston S. Churchill greeting and hugging his daughter, Mary Soames, on 1 April 1963, her mother, Clementine Churchill’s, 78th birthday. That day Clementine and Winston attended "a small family luncheon in the Westminster flat of her daughter Mary". This image measures 10 x 8 in (25.4 x 20.3 cm) on matte photo paper. Condition is very good. The paper is crisp with only some light bruising to the corners, original crop marks, and light scuffing visible only under raking light. This image features original, hand-applied retouching of Churchill’s face and hat.
The verso bears the copyright stamp of “Keystone Press Agency Ltd.”, a purple published stamp of The Daily Telegraph from April 1963 hand-amended to read 2 April 1963, a clipping of the caption as it was printed in the newspaper, and handwritten printing notations. The original caption clipping reads simply “RIGHT: Sir Winston being greeted by Mrs. Soames.” Winston Churchill’s youngest child, Mary (1922-2014), served as his wartime Aide-de-Camp for many of his overseas trips, including the 1943 Quebec Conference and the 1945 Potsdam Conference. She would later author a number of books, including a 1979 biography of her mother, Clementine Churchill, Winston Churchill, His Life as a Painter (1990), and a personal memoir. Mary was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 1945 in recognition of her meritorious military services, promoted to Dame Commander (DBE) in 1980, and invested as a Lady Companion of the Order of the Garter (LG) in 2005. Mary married the Conservative politician Christopher Soames in 1947 and became Baroness Soames in 1978 when her husband was created a life peer as Baron Soames.
This poignant photograph was taken in the twilight of Churchill’s remarkable life, less than two years before his death. Churchill’s health and faculties were steadily diminishing. Later that month Christopher Soames and Clementine would unite in urging Churchill not to stand again for Parliament. By May 1, Churchill had made up his mind and Churchill announced his decision not to stand again for Parliament, to which he had first been elected in 1900 while Queen Victoria was still on the throne.
During the final years of his 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.
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. Item #005397