Painting Still Life


by:Nandini Maheshwari Jun 18 2012

Mahatma Gandhi’s letters, George Washington’s personal copy of Constitution
the memorabilia of legendary leaders never fails to fascinate the historic memorabilia collectors.

The latest piece of historical memorabilia to appear at auction is one of Sir Winston Churchill’s works, a 1936 oil on canvas painting still life called “Still Life With Orchids.” The painting is one of the rare works of the British prime minister from 1930s that has never surfaced on the market before. Winston Churchill gifted the painting to Margot Sandys, the young wife of his daughter’s father-in-law in 1936, and it has remained in the family’s possession till date.

Sir Winston Churchill Orchid Painting


Sir Winston Churchill - Painting Still Life

Still Life with Orchids • Sir Winston Churchill

About Sir Winston Churchill and Painting Still Life

Sir Winston Churchill credits painting still life with helping him to overcome the depression that gripped him after his resignation as First Lord of the Admiralty following the disastrous Dardanelles landing in the First World War. He once recalled his rescue by the ‘muse of painting’.

Mr Coombs said: ‘The fact that Margot Sandys saw the present painting… in 1936, confirms its date.

‘The 1930s were Churchill’s “wilderness years” when he was out of power but also, perhaps not entirely coincidentally, a period of abundant painting.’

Still Life - Painting Still Life - Sir William Nicholson

Sheffield Plate • Painting • Sir William Nicholson



He added that, at that time, Churchill came to know the celebrated artist Sir William Nicholson who, Churchill once said, taught him most about painting still life.

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David Coombs, the official authority on Churchill’s art, ‘His Life and His Paintings’ edition said, ‘It’s really beautiful…I was thrilled to be shown it.’ The 46 x 38cm (18 x 15in) orchids painting is estimated to fetch around $1.2 million at auction, when it will go on display at the MacConnal-Mason Gallery at Masterpiece, an art fair scheduled from 28 June to 4 July at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, London.

In the past, every piece of memorabilia of this former British statesman has fetched huge prices at auctions, including the most talked about Winston Churchill personal items collection owned by Steve Forbes, which was sold for over $1.5 Million through Chrisitie’s in year 2010. The private collection featured rare photographs, letters, an unsmoked Havana cigar, and his engagement diary from the Second World War, which was the highlight of the 150 lots auction.

Interestingly, Steve Forbes parted with his collection saying, “Since my immediate family doesn’t share this passion of mine, it seemed fitting and proper to let others have the opportunity and thrill of putting their own collections together, an activity that I enjoyed for some three decades.”
The other significant auction includes, Winston Churchill’s dentures sold in July 2010 for $23,723, to a British collector for more than three times its estimated price tag at an auction in England.

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