Cover image for Sir Winston Churchill, his life and his paintings
Sir Winston Churchill, his life and his paintings
Coombs, David, 1937-
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Sir Winston Churchill's life through his paintings
Publication Information:
Philadelphia : Running Press, 2004.

Physical Description:
256 pages : illustrations (chiefly color) ; 31 cm
General Note:
Originally published: Sir Winston Churchill's life through his paintings. c2003.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ND497.C548 C66 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize

On Order



Sir Winston Churchill began painting during World War II, and it became his lifelong passion. His works, which number over 500, are of remarkable quality and have received the most positive criticism in the English press. "Had he signed his pictures 'Jones,' the critic would still find himself pausing in front of them," noted one Sunday Times of London art critic in 1949. Another opined that "At least a dozen of these pictures will stand against any of the best impressionists." This exclusive, comprehensive collection of the paintings of one of the greatest statesmen in history is licensed by the Churchill Heritage, which will provide marketing support. Written by the renowned art critic who catalogued all of Churchill's paintings shortly after his death, along with Sir Winston's granddaughter-in-law, this sumptuous art book collects all of the images painted by Churchill, primarily in oil on canvas, and in essence provides a look at his life story through his paintings. It also includes authoritative text by the authors, Sir Winston's complete 1925 essay "Painting as a Pastime," and 40 rare, previously unpublished photographs of Churchill and his world, in both color and black and white.

Author Notes

David Coombs is the world-renowned art critic and writer who catalogued all of Churchill's paintings shortly after the statesman's death in 1965. He is a columnist for the UK's authorative weekly trade paper, Antiques Gazette . He lives in Surrey, United Kingdom. Minnie Churchill is Winston Churchill's granddaughter-in-law and is the current chairman of the Churchill Heritage.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Damn good, said art critic Harry S Truman of a 1958 exhibition of Winston Churchill's paintings, and viewers can declaim as they wish on Churchill's artistic skill, thanks to this comprehensive album of his output. Churchill himself was modest and made no pretense to excellence, regarding his hobby as just that, a serene distraction from the pressures of political life. The authors have reprinted Churchill's 1921 article Painting as a Pastime, in which Churchill extolled amateur painting as a physical activity (Just to paint is great fun ) as much as for its aesthetic satisfaction. He picked up brush and palette in 1915, and his first efforts were indeed no great shakes--though of biographical interest as they depicted his post on the Western Front. But he worked to improve his technique until he could turn out an accomplished landscape, although the human form often eluded him. A chronology and captions explain the paintings' locales, and photographs show Churchill at the easel in this sunny, colorful treasure for the Churchillian set. --Gilbert Taylor Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

After Churchill was forced to resign from the WWI British government in 1915 at the age of 40, he took up oils and dived almost completely into painting. Sir Winston certainly didn?t experiment much beyond shifting subject matters, but the ?painting muse? that supposedly carried him out of his retirement depression seems to have been an overwhelming, transcendent influence on his later years. Published with the full cooperation of Churchill?s family, this impressive 9" x 12" book offers a large-scale retrospective of the grand statesman?s paintings. Its 500 full-color and black and white reproductions and photos are displayed smoothly throughout the glossy pages and described by precisely detailed captions. Coombs, former editor of The Antique Collector and a lifetime fellow at the Royal Society of Arts, provides historical background and political context for the sometimes-vivid oil paintings. Culled from Churchill?s first days of painting at his Sulley farmhouse (and holidays in Belgium, Switzerland, Canada, Italy, the French Riviera and the United States), the paintings reflect a sincere interest in the meditative process of art-making, and are reminiscent of Monet, Cezanne and, when Churchill is at his best, perhaps Bonnard. Most are impressionistic landscapes or floral still lifes, along with the occasional portrait, such as one done in 1955 of Sir Winston?s wife, Clementine Churchill, and others of various secretaries or political colleagues. The enthusiastic foreword is written by Churchill?s only surviving child, Mary Soames. Two of Churchill?s essays seek to explain the impetus behind the political giant?s second life. As he put it: ?We may content ourselves with a joy-ride in a paint-box.? (Oct.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Library Journal Review

In addition to his brilliant career as a politician and a historian, Sir Winston Churchill was an avid and talented painter. He began painting during World War I at a low point in his career to help lift him out of a severe depression. This collection of all of his known paintings is a joint effort by Coombs, former editor of the Antique Collector magazine; Churchill's granddaughter-in-law; and Churchill's youngest daughter, Mary Soames, who contributed the introduction. As revealed, Churchill's paintings are largely landscapes, with occasional forays into still life and portraiture, exhibiting lively brushwork and a fine color sense quite exceptional for an amateur. Accompanying the artwork are Churchill's enthusiastic essays about his hobby and a chronology of his life and paintings. Overall, this book offers a fuller account of Churchill's oeuvre than Coombs's previous Churchill: His Paintings (1967). It also includes many more color plates (482 vs. 73). Recommended for large public and academic libraries.-Amy K. Weiss, Appalachian State Univ. Lib., Boone, NC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.