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Winston Churchill Painting Sells for $87000

Winston Churchill Painting Sells for $87000

A lot of people don’t know this but former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was in fact a painter, and a rather accomplished one at that. Churchill is mostly recognized for guiding the UK through the Second World War and keeping the Nazis from invading his country – but aside from all that, the man had time to enjoy some of his favorite amusements; Cuban cigars and painting.

Most of his paintings focus on landscapes and skies, and his work can be seen at his home in Surrey. One of his paintings, a rare piece that captures a blueish lake in Canada was sold recently for $87000 at an auction. The painting was initially estimated to generate between $11000-$14000 but it greatly surpassed expectations when it went for sale at Sotheby’s auction in London.

Winston Churchill Painting

Churchill had a unique appreciation for dramatic landscapes and this naturally led him to visit a number of places such as Lake Emerald in British Columbia in 1929, where he is said to have captured the blue waters of the Rocky Mountains. Using a combination of oil paints and influenced by the famed impressionism, Churchill masterfully captured the vista and later gave the painting to one of his bodyguards. The bodyguard’s name was Sgt. Edward Murray, and his children inherited the painting.

After decades just sitting in a private collection, the family decided to put it up for sale. Of course this isn’t the first time that a Churchill painting has gone to action, however this time the art world wasn’t aware that this particular piece existed until it was presented at Sotheby’s. The Emerald Lake painting was in pretty bad shape following years of neglect. According to an individual familiar with the painting, the Emerald Lake would have sold for much more had it been in better condition.


Churchill had visited Canada with his wife for a month and he is said to have fallen in love with the view. So one morning he came out with his easel and set up near the lake and began working on the painting. Years later, his bodyguard asked whether he could have the painting, and Churchill said yes.

It took some investigation to decipher the actual lake on the painting, as it bears close resemblance to Lake Louise, and Churchill had in fact written ‘Lake Louise, Canada’, on the bottom of the painting. Murray’s family also thought it depicted Lake Louise but directors at Sotheby’s auction clarified the matter once they compared it to a picture of Lake Emerald taken from the same perspective. Additional information was also found to confirm that it was indeed Lake Emerald in British Columbia.

The owners, Sgt. Murray’s family, were hoping the painting would end up in Canada, however it’s hard to determine whether it was bought by a Canadian collector because most auctions (including Sotheby’s) don’t discuss the details of their buyers.

Churchill was over thirty years before he started exploring his curiosity with painting. He took great interest in the art of depicting landscapes and some would say he possessed an artist’s perception that allowed him to see an ordinary scene as a colorful vista worth capturing. This creativity led him to create over 500 pieces, as the idle hobby quickly turned into his most treasured escape; a respite from the pulsating politics of the time and crowded events.

As with most hobbies, his initiation was simple. He played around with a paintbox as a child, and according to him, by the next morning he had created a genuine piece with oils. Even though he lacked any distinct technique, Churchill still had a determination to try new projects any time he could.

He showed a lack of inhibition and this led him to encourage other budding artists to unleash their own creativity with audacity. Churchill was also partial to oils.

In his earlier years in painting Churchill received an amateur price for a painting that depicted his Kentish home. This had the effect of goading him to go further, and he actually sent five of his pieces to be considered for exhibition in Paris in the 1920s. Four of the paintings were bought for just £30, however it had long been known that money was never his motivation. The sheer excitement and delight of painting was what he treasured most.