Lot 21
  • 21

Sir Winston Churchill, K.G., O.M., F.R.S., HON. R.A.

150,000 - 200,000 GBP
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  • Sir Winston Churchill, K.G., O.M., F.R.S., HON. R.A.
  • Chartwell Landscape with Sheep
  • signed with initials
  • oil on canvas
  • 76 by 63.5cm., 30 by 25in.


Gift of Sir Winston Churchill to Henry R. Luce
Mrs Clare Booth Luce
Armand Hammer
Otto Kallir, and thence by descent to the present owners


New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1958, details untraced;
Memphis, Brooks Memorial Art Gallery, The Armand Hammer Collection, 2 October - 30 December 1969, no.71, illustrated in the catalogue;
Washington D.C., Smithsonian Institution, The Armand Hammer Collection: A Loan Exhibition for the Benefit of the Smithsonian Institution, year untraced, no.79.


'Winston Churchill's Pictures', The Strand Magazine, July 1946, illustrated;
Bob Considine, The Remarkable Life of Dr. Armand Hammer, Harper & Row, 1975, p.270;
David Coombs with Minnie Churchill, Sir WInston Churchill's Life Through HIs Paintings, Chaucer Press, London, 2003, C442, p.211 and 255, fig.439, illustrated.


The canvas is unlined and appears to be providing a good sound support. However there are two faint creases running horizontally across the centre of the canvas (possibly stretcher marks) that could benefit from local treatment by a professional restorer. The paint surface appears to be in excellent original condition retaining some good impasto throughout. Occasional short and very fine hairline cracks are visible in the sky and distant landscape but these do not appear to be lifting or unstable in any way. Inspection under UV light does not reveal any later retouchings. Presented unglazed in a carved gilt wood frame in good sound condition other than occasional tiny surface chips. The painting would benefit greatly from a professional clean but is otherwise ready to hang.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.

Catalogue Note

Painted in the early 1940s, about twenty years after Churchill had moved to Chartwell, the much-modified Elizabethan manor house near Westerham in Kent that was to become not only the family home and a beautiful venue for entertaining guests, but also Churchill's cherished retreat and a constant source of inspiration until his death in 1965. Initially enchanted by the magnificent views over the Kentish Weald, Churchill and his wife Clementine had bought the house in 1922 - a purchase made possible by an unexpected inheritance from a distant cousin - but it was not until the spring of 1924, after some substantial refurbishment work, that they were finally able to move in.

It was not just the house and the views over the distant woods and valleys that Churchill prized, but also the wonderful Arts and Crafts-inspired garden, with its lake and fishponds, rose, kitchen and water gardens, at the bottom of which lay his oft-frequented studio. Inspired by the peace and tranquility of his surroundings, he would regularly take up his palette and engage in his favourite activity, the pastime which had, by the 1940s, come to the attention of a considerable world-wide audience. However, though Churchill would often take advantage of subjects that were immediately to hand at Chartwell - house guests and family members, still lives or particular garden features - there are only four other known views in existence which encompass the house, the grounds and the unfolding views in a manner comparable to the present work. All of the others remain in the hands of the Churchill family or the National Trust.

Chartwell Landscape with Sheep was already regarded as an important work when it was chosen to be illustrated in colour in The Strand Magazine article 'Winston Churchill's Pictures' in July 1946. Previously in the collection of prominent American publisher Henry R Luce, the subsequent ownership of this painting has not been recorded by Churchill scholars. It is listed in David Coombs' most recent edition of Sir Winston Churchill's Life Through His Paintings as 'present owner unknown' and illustrated only by a grainy, black and white reproduction. Having been 'off the radar' in recent history, the appearance of this strikingly successful painting on the open market is a rare and exciting event, particularly given the very great personal significance of its subject matter to the artist himself. Now managed and cared for by the National Trust, Chartwell remains almost exactly as Churchill left it. A shrine to his memory, it is still very possible to appreciate the vital role that Chartwell played as something of a Shangri-la during the most important years of Churchill's political life.