The Artist Uncovered

Sir Winston Churchill, the artist. Pictured in his studio, here at Chartwell

Sir Winston Churchill, the artist.
Pictured in his studio, here at Chartwell

Many people are aware that Sir Winston Churchill had plenty of strings to his bow and that painting pictures was certainly one of them. Churchill was forty before he discovered the pleasures of painting and from 1915 his artwork was his principal form of relaxation from the stresses and strains of political life. During his lifetime Sir Winston painted around 535 pictures, many of which were created here at Chartwell and still remain here to this day in his Studio which can be found in the Orchard area of the gardens. His art quickly became half passion, half philosophy, and to him it was the greatest of hobbies. In the words of the great man himself, “When I get to heaven I mean to spend a considerable portion of my first million years there painting, and so get to the bottom of the subject…”.

Chartwell_Facebook_Broadcast_1

This weekend (September 21st and 22nd) sees an Uncovered event here at Chartwell where visitors will be able to discover how the landscape at Chartwell provided a source of mental and spiritual refreshment for Churchill before and during the war. One of the attractions of the weekend will be called ‘Chartwell in Churchill’s Eyes’. This is an opportunity to see how Chartwell was the inspiration for many paintings by Sir Winston Churchill, as well as a unique experience of seeing some of those paintings in situ around the grounds and be able to compare them with today’s views that they depict. In this week’s blog I aim to do something very similar in case you cannot get here this weekend or if you want a taster of what you can expect on site for yourselves. Below you will see a number of Sir Winston’s paintings done in the gardens and estate at Chartwell along with photographs of the same view today so you can see how they compare or contrast.

Black Swans At Chartwell 1948 A gift to his son, Randolph

Black Swans At Chartwell
1948
A gift to his son, Randolph

And the current incarnation of the famous Chartwell black swans on the lakes created by Churchill himself

The current incarnation of the famous Chartwell black swans on the lakes that were created by Churchill himself

The Swimming Pool At Chartwell 1935 Sir William Nicholson painted an almost identical painting at the same time, both of which hang in the Studio at Chartwell

The Swimming Pool At Chartwell
1935
Sir William Nicholson painted an almost identical painting at the same time, both of which hang in the Studio at Chartwell

Churchill's swimming pool today.  Note the lack of diving board, changing huts and temporary buildings in the background

Churchill’s swimming pool today. Note the lack of diving board, changing huts and hay ricks in the background

Chartwell Kitchen Garden 1948 Shows the walls and Childrens' Marycot house built by Chuchill himself

Chartwell Kitchen Garden
1948
Shows the walls and Childrens’ Marycot house built by Churchill himself

The current incarnation of the Kitchen Garden.  The Golden Rose avenue is an addition since the painting was done and the fruit trees have grown much larger.  The produce was used in the kitchens at Chartwell and 10 Downing Street in Sir Winston's day, while today it is used in our visitor restaurant.

The present day Kitchen Garden at Chartwell. The Golden Rose Avenue is an addition since the painting was done and the fruit trees have grown much larger. The produce was used in the kitchens at Chartwell and 10 Downing Street in Sir Winston’s day, while today it is used in our visitor restaurant.

View From Chartwell 1948 Sir Winston's Studio can be seen as the leftmost building in the run of cottages

View From Chartwell
1948
Sir Winston’s Studio can be seen as the leftmost building in the run of cottages

Little has changed today.  A few trees have come and gone but the walled Terrace Lawn is the same and the Oast Houses of Chartwell Farm can still be seen on the left

Little has changed today. A few trees have come and gone but the walled Terrace Lawn is the same and the Oast Houses of Chartwell Farm can still be seen on the left

Unfinished Painting of Goldfish Pool At Chartwell 1935 Note the stepping stones on the right hand side that were added by designer Gavin Jones

Unfinished Painting of Goldfish Pool At Chartwell
1935
Note the stepping stones on the right hand side that were added by designer Gavin Jones

One of the stones is engraved today letting visitors know that Sir Winston used to sit in the seat on the far side and feed his fish from the bait box.

One of the stones is engraved today letting visitors know that Sir Winston used to sit in the seat on the far side and feed his fish from the bait box.

And here's another photo to prove that the Golden Orfe still exist too!

And here’s another photo to prove that the Golden Orfe still exist too!

Winter Sunshine, Chartwell 1925 Entered anonymously in a London exhibition for amateur painters and won 1st prize!

Winter Sunshine, Chartwell
1925
Entered anonymously in a London exhibition for amateur painters and won 1st prize!

Chartwell still looks beautiful under snow today.  We've had plenty of chances to see this over the last 4 years or so!

Chartwell still looks beautiful under snow today. We’ve had plenty of chances to see this over the last 4 years or so!

View Of Chartwell 1938 Shows the lakes, swimming pool, house and the view of the Kentish Weald that first attracted Churchill to Chartwell

View Of Chartwell
1938
Shows the lakes, swimming pool, house and the view of the Kentish Weald that first attracted Churchill to Chartwell

I took this photograph from the top of the picnic fields above the car park.  Note the grass maze cut into the meadow.  The house is just visible top right, but the tree growth restricts some of the view shown in the painting

I took this photograph from the top of the picnic fields above the car park. Note the grass maze cut into the meadow. The house is just visible top right, but the tree growth restricts some of the view shown in the painting

I hope these pictures whet your appetite to come and check out our Uncovered event for yourselves this weekend. As well as the recreated views there are lectures from David Coombs on ‘Reflection and Sir Winston Churchill’s Paintings’

coombs lecture poster

…and from horticulturalist and historian Stefan Buczacki on ‘Pools, Ponds, and Lakes: How Churchill Changed the Chartwell Landscape’

buczacki lecture poster

You can also enjoy garden tours, talks on Churchill’s love of butterflies by National Trust wildlife expert Matthew Oates, a private tour called ‘Churchill and Tilden: Architecture for Views’ about how architect Tilden remolded the house for the Churchills, Camera Obscura demonstrations and WWII Weardale Walks from Emmetts Garden to Chartwell. Phew, so much to see and do! More informations can be found by clicking here or here. Either way, we hope to see you here sooner rather than later…

Jamie

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Chartwell Life, Garden History

2 responses to “The Artist Uncovered

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s