by Cecil Beaton
bromide print, 1940
9 3/8 in. x 7 1/2 in. (237 mm x 190 mm)
Accepted in lieu of tax by H.M. Government and allocated to the Gallery, 1991
Sitterback to top
- Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill (1874-1965), Prime Minister. Sitter in 222 portraits.
Artistback to top
- Cecil Beaton (1904-1980), Photographer, designer and writer. Artist or producer associated with 1111 portraits, Sitter associated with 361 portraits.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Cooper, John, Great Britons: The Great Debate, 2002, p. 134 Read entry
The photographs and cartoons shown here encapsulate the popular image of Churchill. Features recorded faithfully in press and portrait photographs became humorously exaggerated by Sir David Low, Vicky and others. Funny hats sitting precariously on his round head, vast cigars, bow ties, siren suits, all engagingly eccentric in official and press photographs, become cheery weapons in the cartoonist's propaganda war. Idiosyncratic personal detail is transformed into dynamic, humorous defiance.
Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top
- Cecil Beaton Portraits (5 February 2004 - 31 May 2004)
- Public and Private: Winston Churchill in Photographs
Events of 1940back to top
Current affairsFollowing the German invasion of the Netherlands, Belgium and France, Neville Chamberlain resigns and Churchill is appointed Prime Minister making the famous speech: 'I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat.'
The Battle of Britain ends the Phoney War with Germany's attack on the nation from the air. Britain's cities, airbases and ports are bombed during the Blitz.
Art and scienceWith little access to sculpture materials, and a bombed out studio Henry Moore starts experimenting with drawings of war subjects. After taking shelter in a London Underground station during an air raid Moore was inspired to begin a series of Shelter Drawings. With a commission from the War Artists Advisory Committee, headed by Kenneth Clark, these became some of the most popular example of official war art.
InternationalBritain's attempt to defend France against German invasion by landing troops on the French coast ends in failure; France surrenders and Britain is left to face the Axis Powers alone. While the Dunkirk Landings were a failure, the heroic rescue of troops by a fleet of English civilian boats was a victory for morale, and the 'Dunkirk Spirit' came to stand as an emblem of British triumph in adversity.
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