12 of 222 portraits of Winston Churchill
by Yousuf Karsh
bromide print, 1941
23 3/4 in. x 19 3/4 in. (604 mm x 503 mm)
Given by the estate of Yousuf Karsh, 2010
Sitterback to top
- Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill (1874-1965), Prime Minister. Sitter in 222 portraits.
Artistback to top
- Yousuf Karsh (1908-2002), Photographer. Artist associated with 158 portraits, Sitter in 1 portrait.
This portraitback to top
Karsh photographed Churchill on a visit to the Canadian House of Commons in 1941, when Britain was fighting for survival. Karsh boldly snatched away Churchill's cigar. 'By the time I got back to my camera,' he later recalled, 'he looked so belligerent he could have devoured me.' Known as the 'roaring lion', this image became a symbol of British defiance and is one of the best-known photographs of Churchill.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Black, Jonathan, 1969-, Winston Churchill in British art, 1900 to the present day : the titan with many faces., 2017, p. 107
- Schama, Simon, The Face of Britain: The Nation Through its Portraits, 2015-09-15, p. 119
Events of 1941back to top
Current affairsThe Blitz continues with sustained Luftwaffe attacks on British cities. As the bombing went on the urban population got used to the black out, the air raid sirens and nights spent in shelter. The idea emerged (to some extent a myth) of the 'spirit of the Blitz' where people pulled together united, disregarding traditional class and social divisions.
Art and scienceFrank Whittle demonstrates the first test-flight of a plane powered by jet propulsion. Although the German, Hans von Ohain, built the first jet plane, Whittle was the first to patent a design for the jet engine (in 1930), and his subsequent work helped to advance the technology and made Britain leaders in the field.
InternationalThe Soviet Union and America join the Allies. The Soviet Union was forced to switch sides after Hitler attacked in June 1941, reneging the Soviet-Nazi pact. Six months later the US Navy was attacked by Japan at Pearl Harbour. The following day the USA declared war on Japan, and three days later Germany and Italy declared war on America.
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