Painting as a Pastime. Winston S. Churchill.
Painting as a Pastime
Painting as a Pastime
Painting as a Pastime
Painting as a Pastime

Painting as a Pastime

London: Odhams Press Limited, Ernest Benn Limited, 1948. First edition, first printing. Hardcover. This is the first edition, first printing of Painting as a Pastime, Churchill's essay about his famous hobby. It 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. While the first edition was an attractive enough little book, the coarse, pale green cloth binding proved highly susceptible to soiling and sunning and the thin maroon and white dust jacket incredibly vulnerable to wear. This copy is good plus in a very good dust jacket. The pale green cloth binding is tight with clearly legible gilt on both front cover and spine, though with modest wear and bumps to extremities. The contents remain respectably bright with spotting primarily confined to the endpapers and page edges. We find no previous ownership marks. The endpapers also show mild differential toning consistent with the dust jacket flaps. The dust jacket remains unclipped, retaining the original lower front flap price and unfaded, with no loss of color to the spine or front cover. We note only fractional loss to the spine ends and corners, though there is moderate wear to the extremities, hinges, and corners and light soiling to the perimeter of the white rear face. The dust jacket is protected beneath a removable, archival quality clear cover. 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. Bibliographic reference: Cohen A242.1.a, Woods/ICS A125(a), Langworth p.288. Item #005739

Price: $60.00

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