An original press photo of Sir Winston S. Churchill giving his V sign on 6 October 1959 while campaigning during his last general election for what was to be his final term as a Member of Parliament

An original press photo of Sir Winston S. Churchill giving his V sign on 6 October 1959 while campaigning during his last general election for what was to be his final term as a Member of Parliament

London: P.A. Reuters Photos Ltd., October 1959. Photograph. This is an original press photograph of Sir Winston S. Churchill giving his V sign on 6 October 1959 while on campaign for his last general election and what was to be his final term in Parliament. 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, clean, and free of scuffing with only some very minor edge wear. The verso bears the copyright stamp of “P.A.-Reuters Photos Ltd.”, a received stamp of The Daily Telegraph from October 1959, and a typed caption. The caption is titled “CHURCHILL’S ‘V’ SIGN IN ELECTION TOUR Cot 6th 1959” and reads “It was famous in war, now 84-year-old SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL uses his ‘V’ sign for another, but bloodless campaign – the General Election. With rosette in his button hole, he gives the sign to cheering supporters today (Tuesday) when touring Wood ford, Essay, the constituency he represented in the last Parliament and hopes to retain in Thursday’s ballot.” This press photo poignantly captures Churchill campaigning in what was to be the last of the many general elections in which he had contested. Churchill had first been elected to Parliament in 1900 while Queen Victoria was still on the throne. Three days after this photo was taken the conservatives won with an increased majority and Churchill won with a substantial, 14,000 vote majority. Churchill wrote to Emery Reves “The Election has gone very well, and I think we can look forward to a period of stability at home.” (Gilbert, Vol. VIII, p. 1302) Churchill had represented the same constituency for three and a half decades. In the 1924 General Election, Churchill stood successfully for Epping. In 1945, Epping was subdivided and Churchill stood for the new (and politically more tenable) Wood ford Division. Churchill's re-election by Wood ford in February 1950 was decisive; his vote tally was double that of his challenger. Wood ford would subsequently re-elect Churchill in 1955 and 1959 and he would serve Wood ford as M.P. until October 1964. Four and a half years before this photograph was taken, on 5 April 1955, Churchill had resigned his second and final premiership at the age of 80. 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. 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. Item #005402

Price: $160.00

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