Florida: Levenger Press, Delray Beach, 2003. Limited Edition. Hardcover. Author David Coombs originally published the standard catalogue of over five hundred Churchill paintings then known in 1967. In this large and striking full-leather limited edition of 2003, each painting is illustrated in color or black and white. Accompanying the images is expert text placing individual paintings in context, often providing information such as the time and subject of the painting and to whom it was given. There is a foreword by Mary Soames and a message from Minnie Churchill on the limitation page.
This large book measures 12.25 by 9.25 inches and is bound in navy blue leather with a matching navy blue leather slipcase. This is an as-new copy, the book and slipcase still protected within the publisher's original “Levenger Press” presentation box, and with the original brochure from The Churchill Centre still laid in. This is copy 975 of 1500. The publisher's original silver, elastic-secured cardboard box is the only item that shows wear, being superficially scuffed and worn.
Soldier, writer, and politician, Winston 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, 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.
Painting was something personal in the great and turbulent sweep of his relentlessly 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).
Minnie Churchill’s facsimile signature appears on the limitation page. Mary “Minnie” Caroline Spencer Churchill (nee d’Erlanger, b.1940) was the first wife of Winston S. Churchill’s namesake grandson. They were married from 1964 to 1997 and had four children. In the summer of 1963 Minnie Churchill first visited Chartwell, where she found the dining room filled with Sir Winston’s paintings: “I knelt down and started looking through them, and my first reaction was: ‘These are absolutely wonderful’,” Minnie recalled. “I knew he was a remarkable man, but this magical side, as a painter, came as a complete surprise to me. The paintings were so beautiful, and exhibited such a private insight into this great man’s life.” Minnie Churchill contributed more than just admiration and a limitation page statement to this edition; she collaborated closely with David Coombs on this book and owns four of Sir Winston’s paintings, including the only portrait Sir Winston ever painted of his wife, Clementine.
This large, heavy book may require additional postage and will be shipped at cost. Reference: Zoller A316. Item #006260