London: Associated Press Photo, 6 April 1958. Photograph. This is an original press photo of Sir Winston S. Churchill with former French President René Coty on 5 April 1959 at La Pausa in the South of France. This image measures 8 x 10 in (20.3 x 25.4 cm) on matte photo paper. Condition is good. The paper is crisp and free of scuffing, though soiled overall. This image features original, hand-applied retouching the figures’ faces, clothes, and hair. The verso bears the copyright stamp of “Associated Press Photo.”, a published stamp of The Daily Telegraph from 6 April 1958 that has been hand amended to 1959, remnants of a typed caption, and a clipping of the caption as it appeared in print.
This photograph captures Winston S. Churchill and René Coty enjoying cigars in the garden at La Pausa. La Pausa was a French Riviera villa owned by Churchill’s longtime literary agent and friend Emery Reves, originally built for Coco Chanel and acquired by Reves in 1953 with proceeds earned from foreign language rights of Churchill’s The Second World War. In his retirement Churchill was a frequent La Pausa guest, where he would write, paint, and relax.
President Coty was one of a number of noted individuals that Churchill dined with on this trip including Prince Rainier and Princess Grace, Aristotle Onassis, Lord Beaverbrook, and Somerset Maugham. Jules Gustave René Coty (1882-1962) became French President in 1954 and had left office on 8 January 1959, just a few months before this photograph was taken. Coty was succeeded by Charles de Gaulle. Churchill had relinquished his own second and final premiership exactly four years earlier, 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, culminating in his death on 24 January 1965 and his remarkably elaborate and affecting state 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 #005453