London: P.A. Reuter Photos Ltd., April 1963. Photograph. This is an original press photograph of Sir Winston S. Churchill taken on 11 April 1963 capturing him waving while smoking a cigar as he leaves his Hyde Park Gate home for a holiday in Monte Carlo. This image measures 10 x 7.625 in (25.4 x 19.4 cm) on glossy photo paper. Condition is very good. The paper is crisp with only some light bruising to the corners and light scuffing visible only under raking light. The verso bears the copyright stamp of “P.A. Reuter Photos Ltd.”, a purple received stamp of The Daily Telegraph from April 1963, and a typed caption. The quite voluble original caption is titled “SIR WINSTON’S PARTING WAVE: EASTER IN MONTE CARLO” and reads: Wave from 88-year-old SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL as, clenching a cigar, he leaves his London home at 28, Hyde Park Gate, S.W., by car for London Airport to-day (Thursday). He was to fly off for a holiday in Monte Carlo, where he will spend Easter. It is Sir Winston’s first holiday abroad since he fell and fractured his left thigh in his Monte Carlo hotel room last June. As he set off for the airport, people shouted ‘Happy Easter, Sir Winston.’ He will be in Monte Carlo for about a fortnight. April 11 1963”
This photograph was taken in the twilight of Churchill’s remarkable life, less than two years before his death. Six years earlier, on 5 April 1955, Churchill had resigned his second and final premiership at the age of 80. “It was during April” of 1963, when this photograph was taken, “that Churchill was pressed, albeit discreetly, both by his wife and by Christopher Soames, to announce that he would not contest the coming General Election.” (Gilbert, Vol. VIII, p.1343) By May 1, Churchill had made up his mind and 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 #005407