Winston Churchill

1 portrait of Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill, by Yousuf Karsh, 1941 - NPG P490(16) - © Karsh / Camera Press

© Karsh / Camera Press

Winston Churchill

by Yousuf Karsh
bromide print, 1941
10 7/8 in. x 8 1/2 in. (277 mm x 217 mm)
Given by the photographer, Yousuf Karsh, 1991
Primary Collection
NPG P490(16)


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Sitterback to top

Artistback to top

  • Yousuf Karsh (1908-2002), Photographer. Artist associated with 155 portraits, Sitter in 1 portrait.

This portraitback to top

In 1940, Churchill succeeded Neville Chamberlain as Prime Minister, leading Britain to victory in World War II. Karsh photographed the great wartime leader on a visit to the Canadian House of Commons in Ottawa. In a moment of boldness, Karsh snatched a cigar from Churchill's mouth. 'By the time I got back to my camera,' he later recalled, 'he looked so belligerent he could have devoured me.' It became one of the best-known photographs of Churchill and Karsh acknowledged that its success 'changed my life.' Dubbed the 'Roaring lion', this became one of the most enduring of Churchill's portraits and is among the most widely reproduced photographs in the history of photography.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Gibson, Robin; Clerk, Honor, 20th Century Portraits in the National Portrait Gallery Collection, 1993, p. 2
  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 124

Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top