Lot 5
  • 5

SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL, K.G., O.M., F.R.S., HON. R.A. | A View of Eze in the Alpes-Maritimes

200,000 - 300,000 GBP
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  • Sir Winston Churchill, K.G., O.M., C.H., Hon. R.A.
  • A View of Eze in the Alpes-Maritimes
  • oil on canvas
  • 66 by 81cm.; 26 by 31¾in.
  • Executed circa 1930.


The Estate of the Artist, and thence by descent to Arabella Churchill
Her sale, Sotheby's New York, 21st May 1982, lot 351
Private Collection, U.S.A., where acquired by the present owner


David Coombs, Churchill: His Paintings, Hamish Hamilton, London, 1967, cat. no.203, illustrated p.156;
David Coombs and Minnie S. Churchill, Sir Winston Churchill His Life and His Paintings, Ware House Publishing, Lyme Regis, 2011, cat. no.203, illustrated p.62.


Compiled by Alex France at Hamish Dewar Ltd., 25/05/2018: Structural Condition The canvas is unlined and is securely attached to what certainly appears to be the artist's original keyed wooden stretcher. This is ensuring an even and stable structural support. There are artist's pin holes in the four extreme corners of the composition and four further pin holes close to the upper and lower edges. Paint Surface The paint surface has an even varnish layer. There are slightly raised stretcher bar lines corresponding to each of the five stretcher members. These appear stable. There are also slightly raised areas of craquelure, most notably within the dark green paint in the upper right quadrant. These are also stable. Inspection under ultraviolet light shows a few very small spots of retouching on the extreme edges of the composition and a slightly larger retouching at the bottom of the tree in the extreme lower right corner. Summary The painting would therefore appear to be in very good and stable condition. The work is held within a simple wooden frame. Please telephone the department on +44 (0) 207 293 6424 if you have any further questions regarding the present lot.
"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

We are grateful to David Coombs for his kind assistance with the cataloguing of the present work. Despite his political life and significant literary commitments, Churchill was an inveterate traveller and would take his paints, brushes and easels wherever he went. The south of France and the Riviera in particular had an immense appeal to Churchill. The Churchills were strong Francophiles: Clementine spent many years of her childhood in Dieppe and both had several friends who lived across the country. Mary Soames recalls in A Daughter’s Tale how her father would recount Gallic history to her and that his heroine was Joan of Arc.

In 1920, after selling Lullenden, his country retreat in Sussex, Churchill began work on his war memoirs and spent considerable time abroad painting. He appears to have made painting trips to the south of France with Sir John Lavery that summer and again in 1921. In 1922, the year after Mary was born, Churchill and Clementine took their family to the Riviera where they rented the villa Rêve d'Or for six months. From this point Churchill’s love affair with the South of France began. Drawn by good weather and inspired by the landscape Churchill would return on numerous occasions often without Clementine who did not feel comfortable with the Riviera life. He would often stay at the actress Maxine Elliott's house or other villas along the coast including les Zoraides, la Dragonniere and Cap Martin. Later in life Churchill even considered buying a villa in the Riviera but the costs involved eventually put him off.

The present work captures the majestic hill top town of Eze, which dramatically overlooks the coastline outside Nice. Churchill's close friends Consuelo and Jacques Balsan had bought a property over-looking Eze and built a wonderful villa 'Lou Sueil' where Winston and Clementine were frequent guests. Consuelo, one of the American Vanderbilts, was previously married to Churchill's cousin, Sunny, ninth Duke of Marlborough, and had remained good friends with several members of the family. Jacques was a record breaking and pioneering French balloon, aeroplane and hydroplane pilot who once worked with the Wright brothers and their home was frequently filled with other luminaries of the period.

The site had a perfect view of medieval Eze, brought to life in the present work through Churchill's exuberant and confident use of impasto. The villa was surrounded by superb gardens originally created by Achille Duchêne (1866-1947) and must have been a particularly inspiring environment to set up easel and paints.