An original press photograph of Winston S. Churchill dressed for a fox hunt with the Old Surrey and Burstow Hunt at Chartwell Farm, the home of his daughter and son-in-law, on 27 November 1948
An original press photograph of Winston S. Churchill dressed for a fox hunt with the Old Surrey and Burstow Hunt at Chartwell Farm, the home of his daughter and son-in-law, on 27 November 1948

An original press photograph of Winston S. Churchill dressed for a fox hunt with the Old Surrey and Burstow Hunt at Chartwell Farm, the home of his daughter and son-in-law, on 27 November 1948

London: The 'Topical' Press Agency, 29 November 1948. Photograph. This original press photo captures Winston S. Churchill dressed in his fox hunt kit on 27 November 1948. The image, measuring 10.25 x 8 in (26 x 20.3 cm), is a gelatin silver print on glossy photo paper. Condition is very good minus. The paper is crisp and clean with only light edge wear confined to the margins and minor scuffing visible only under raking light. This is a crisp, high contrast image. The verso bears the copyright stamp of “The ‘Topical’ Press Agency” and a typed caption reading “A birthday picture of Mr. Winston Churchill, Britain’s war-time Premier, who is 74 to-morrow. This picture was taken on Saturday, when he rode with the Old Surrey and Burstow Hunt, which met at Chartwell Farm, Sevenoaks, Kent, the home of his son-in-law, Captain Soames.” In addition to his numerous accomplishments, interests, and obsessions Churchill maintained a lifelong love of horses. At Sandhurst, training for the cavalry, Churchill graduated second in the arduous riding competition. At Omdurman he participated in “the last significant cavalry charge in British history”. He was a talented polo player who did not play his last game until age 52. And as soon as his finances allowed in the last decades of his life, Churchill kept a stable of racehorses and found some success as an owner and breeder. On 27 November 1948, three days before his 74th birthday, Churchill joined the Old Surrey and Burstow Hunt, a foxhunting pack dating back to the 19th century, on their first ever hunt embarking from Chartwell. Though Churchill had given up riding years before, he hired a horse from a nearby stable and joined with enthusiasm. The hunt met in the morning and set off following the hounds until lunchtime. Newspapers reported that “scent was picked up, but was poor owing to the sun, and was lost.” Of her septuagenarian father’s feat Mary Soames later wrote, “It really was quite an achievement, but we were all deeply relieved when, having made his point, Winston did not make a habit of riding again.” (Soames, Churchill Family Album, p. 370) This experience may have helped rekindle Churchill’s love of horses; in 1949 he purchased the first of an eventual 38 racehorses. His post-war years of relative leisure came to an end with the October 1951 General Election, when Churchill’s Conservatives outpolled Labour, returning Churchill to 10 Downing Street for his second and final premiership. This press photo originated from The ‘Topical’ Press Agency. 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 of 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 #005615

Price: $200.00

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