San Francisco: Gump's Department Store, 1985. Limited Edition, signed. Hardcover. This is a limited edition of Churchill's famous work on painting, number 397 of 500, signed by Churchill’s namesake grandson, Winston Spencer Churchill (1940-2010). In 1985 this limited edition was produced by Gump's, the famous San Francisco department store. Limited to 500 hand-numbered copies, the edition features a paper-covered binding printed red, white, and black with a repeating oak leaf and acorn design, and is bound with patterned gray endpapers. The limitation page of this copy is hand-numbered "397" in black ink. Some of these copies were signed by Churchill’s namesake grandson, who contributed a brief introduction to this edition. This is one such copy, inscribed boldly in blue in three lines by Winston Churchill on a blank endsheet recto: "To Nadyne Y. Altfield | from | Winston S. Churchill". Altfield, of San Francisco, died in 2006 at age 80.
ondition is fine - the fragile paper-covered binding is square, clean, bright and tight, with sharp corners and no appreciable wear. The contents are crisp, clean, and bright with no spotting.
This essay about Churchill's famous hobby had been printed in The Strand Magazine as early as 1921, but it was not until 1948 - nearly three decades after his first published words on the subject - that Churchill consented to a book about his hobby and passion. Soldier, writer, and politician, Churchill was perhaps an unlikely painter. Nonetheless he proved both a prolific and passionate one. Churchill first took up painting during the First World War. May 1915 saw Churchill scapegoated for failure in the Dardanelles and slaughter at Gallipoli and forced from his Cabinet position at the Admiralty. By November 1915 Churchill was serving at the Front, leading a battalion in the trenches. But during the summer of 1915, as he battled depression, he rented Hoe Farm in Surrey, which he frequented with his wife and three children. One day in June, Churchill noticed his brother's wife, Gwendeline, sketching in watercolors. Churchill borrowed her brush and swiftly found solace in painting, which would be a passion and source of release and renewal for the remaining half century of his long life.
Winston's wife Clementine had opposed the idea of her husband's opining in print on the subject, concerned that he might be belittled by professional painters and others. Clementine aside, it may be that Churchill's comparative reticence on the subject was to keep something personal in the great and turbulent sweep of his otherwise tremendously public life. He wrote, "Painting is a friend who makes no undue demands, excites to no exhausting pursuits, keeps faithful pace even with feeble steps, and holds her canvas as a screen between us and the envious eyes of Time or the surly advance of Decrepitude" (Painting as a Pastime, p. 13). Whatever Churchill's reason for penning and ultimately consenting to book publication of Painting as a Pastime complete with images of his paintings, the relatively few words he offered on the subject add something truly personal and different to the great body of his writing.
Reference: Cohen A242.7, Langworth p.292. Item #005537