London: Sinclair-Stevenson, 1994. British edition, reprint. Hardcover. This is an early reprint of the British first edition, inscribed and dated by the author on the title page. The inscription, boldly inked in black in four lines on the lower title page reads “For Donald Coleman | with best wishes | Celia Sandys | Chartwell 4th October 1996”. The author, Celia Sandys, b.1943, is the daughter of Winston Churchill's eldest child, Diana, and Cabinet Minister Duncan Sandys. Drawing on both research and her intimate family experience, she is the author of numerous books about Churchill's life. This is an attractive book, profusely illustrated. Churchill bibliographer Curt Zoller calls it: "A colorful and interesting book on Churchill's youth by his granddaughter, with many fascinating new color and black-and-white illustrations. Though the ground is well-trodden by other works, this uncritical book provides useful insight into Churchill's formative years." Production value is worth noting. The contents are printed on heavy, coated stock bound with red endpapers, satin ribbon marker, and head and foot bands. Condition is fine in a near fine dust jacket. The binding and contents are both immaculate. The dust jacket is bright, clean, and complete, with only trivial wrinkling to extremities not readily discernible beneath the clear, removable, archival cover. The book is an early reprint; the copyright page states “First published in Great Britain in 1994” and “Reprinted 1994”.
It is of significance that such a book was inscribed at Chartwell. On 9 September 1922, Winston’s wife, Clementine, "gave birth to their fifth child, a daughter whom they christened Mary. Also that day he bought a country house in Kent, Chartwell manor..." (Gilbert, A Life, p.450) Perhaps no physical place - not Blenheim Palace where Churchill was born, the Houses of Parliament where he served for six decades, 10 Downing Street where he twice resided as Prime Minister, or St. Paul's Cathedral where his Queen and leaders from around the world mourned his death - would more deeply affect Churchill's life and legacy.
At Chartwell, Churchill was by turns father, husband, painter, landscaper, and bricklayer and work on improving the house and gardens continued for much of Churchill’s life. Chartwell proved Churchill’s vital sanctuary during the “wilderness years” of the 1930s. And, of course, Chartwell served Churchill as “my factory” as he turned out an incredible volume of writing. Even during the darkest days of the Second World War, Chartwell was a place of refuge and renewal.
After the Second World War, Churchill's friend, Lord Camrose, assembled a consortium of benefactors to buy Chartwell, allowing Churchill to reside there for the rest of his life for a nominal rent. On Churchill’s death the property was given to the National Trust as a permanent memorial. Churchill did not leave Chartwell for the final time until mid-October 1964. Chartwell, with its more than 80 acres of woodland and farmland, remains a National Trust property, full of Churchill’s paintings and belongings, inhabited by his memory and spirit.
Bibliographic reference: Zoller A585. Item #006601