8 of 222 portraits of Winston Churchill
by Walter Sickert
oil on canvas, 1927
18 in. x 12 in. (457 mm x 305 mm)
Given by the Art Fund, 1965
Sitterback to top
- Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill (1874-1965), Prime Minister. Sitter in 222 portraits.
Artistback to top
- Walter Richard Sickert (1860-1942), Painter. Artist associated with 10 portraits, Sitter associated with 21 portraits.
This portraitback to top
Winston Churchill's must be the most famous face of the twentieth century, wreathed in cigar smoke and with his look of formidably aggressive determination. Sickert caught his character well in this sketch undertaken when Churchill was Chancellor of the Exchequer. At the time, Sickert was giving Churchill painting lessons at the latter's house, Chartwell in Kent. Sickert worked chiefly from photographs in this period, allowing him to paint portraits without commissions or sittings, but Churchill may have sat for him on one of these occasions. Churchill himself disliked the portrait and gave it away soon after it had been presented to him.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Smartify image discovery app
- Cooper, John, Visitor's Guide, 2000, p. 94
- Cooper, John, Great Britons: The Great Debate, 2002, p. 129 Read entry
Churchill was a good amateur artist and enjoyed learning from professionals. Both Walter Sickert and Graham Sutherland, when painting him at Chartwell, were pumped for advice. The portraits by Sir William Orpen, particularly, and Sir John Lavery, painted during the First World War, won his approval. But it was photogaphs that defined his popular image, from the truculent prisoner of the Boers to spreads in Picture Post, in planes, boats, trains, beds and wheelchairs, from bumptious officer of hussars to Beaton's and Karsh's icon of defiance.
- Éditions de Gazette des beaux-arts, Gazette des beaux-arts (February 1966) (Supplement), 1966, p. 82 number 312
- Gibson, Robin, Treasures from the National Portrait Gallery, 1996, p. 109
- John Cooper, National Portrait Gallery Visitor's Guide, 2006, p. 94
- Saumarez Smith, Charles, The National Portrait Gallery: An Illustrated Guide, 2000, p. 189
- Saumarez Smith, Charles, The National Portrait Gallery, 1997, p. 189 Read entry
Churchill's must be the most famous face of the twentieth century, wreathed in cigar smoke and with his look of formidably aggressive determination. Sickert caught his character well in this sketch undertaken when Churchill was Chancellor of the Exchequer. At the time, Sickert was giving Churchill painting lessons at the latter's house, Chartwell in Kent, so he may have had sittings for this work; but often Sickert worked straight from photographs, trying to catch the essential characteristics of someone famous without the distraction of what the sitter really looked like. Churchill himself disliked the portrait and gave it away soon after it had been presented to him.
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 124
- Sickert, Walter Richard, Late Sickert : paintings 1927 to 1942, 1981 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 1981-1982), p. 33, 93 number 9
- Wilson, Jeremy, T.E. Lawrence: Lawrence of Arabia, 1988 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 9 December 1988 - 12 March 1989), p. 136
Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top
- The Camden Town Group and beyond (27 November 2010 - 31 August 2011)
Events of 1927back to top
Current affairsThe United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland is renamed the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, acknowledging the full independence of the Irish Free State, led at the time by W.T. Cosgrave, the the first President of the Executive Council of the Irish Free State.
Art and scienceThe BBC gains its Royal Charter making it a public corporation and a public service broadcaster accountable to its audience. John Reith became the first Director General with the directive to 'inform, educate and entertain.'
InternationalStalin expels Leon Trotsky from the Soviet Communist Party, giving himself greater control of the party and country by ousting opposition elements.
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