A rare Winston Churchill painting featuring the British leader's favorite whiskey brand from WWII fetched nearly £ 1 million at auction in London yesterday.
The 1930s oil painting of a bottle of Johnny Walker's Black Label whiskey and a bottle of brandy with pitcher and glasses sparked a bidding war before it was sold for £ 983,000.
Sales at Sotheby & # 39; s online auction of modern British and postwar art were about five times higher than pre-sale estimates and were among the highest ever auctioned for a Churchill painting.
A staff member poses with a rare painting by former UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill titled "Jug with Bottles" and his favorite brand of whiskey, which sold for nearly £ 1 million at Sotheby & # 39; s London auction house yesterday
Winston Churchill (left) donated the painting to W. Averell Harriman (second from left), who was the US special envoy for Europe in the 1940s. Pictured: Winston Churchill, Averell Harriman, Stalin and an unidentified man in the Kremlin in Moscow
The wartime leader, who was an avid amateur artist, created the still life titled "Jug of Bottles" in his Chartwell country house in Kent, southeast England, in the 1930s.
For Churchill, his beloved Chartwell family home became, like painting, a retreat from the stresses of political life.
Churchill's handwritten breakfast menu
Winston Churchill's extravagant breakfast preferences were revealed in a handwritten menu from 1954.
He asked that his huge meal be put on two trays. He lists in his own hand: & # 39; 1. Tray. Poached egg, toast, jam, butter, coffee and milk, jug of cold milk, cold chicken or meat.
2nd compartment. Grapefruit, sugar bowl, glass orange squash (ice), whiskey soda. & # 39; Then he adds: "Wash your hands, cigar."
Experts described how Churchill's favorite Scotch was Johnnie Walker, whose distinctive black and gold diagonal label on the bottle can be clearly seen here and which is painted next to a bottle of brandy – the perfect backdrop for the translucent effect of the glasses and jugs on a silver tray .
They added that the play of light and the juxtaposition of objects clearly shows the influence of the famous still life painter and friend of the family, Sir William Nicholson.
Churchill, who once said the famous quote “The water was not potable. To make it palatable we had to add whiskey & # 39; was known as a lover of Johnny Walker Black Label.
The painting reflected Churchill's fondness for the brand, which Sotheby & # 39; s said he often drank first thing in the morning with soda water.
He later gave it to American businessman W. Averell Harriman, who served as the U.S. special envoy for Europe in the 1940s.
Harriman was photographed between Churchill and Stalin in Moscow in 1942, and the painting's gift suggests that he shared sociable dramas with Churchill.
The famous politician would give pictures to “like-minded people”, said Simon Hucker, co-director of modern British post-war art at Sotheby & # 39; s, ahead of the auction.
It is unclear whether Churchill knew that Pamela Churchill, the wife of his son Randolph, was having an affair with Harriman during this period.
Pamela Churchill married Harriman decades later in the 1970s and the painting was sold after her death in 1997.
It was put up for sale again on Tuesday after the deaths of its future owners, US collectors Barbara and Ira Lipman.
Throughout his life, Churchill created more than 550 paintings and described them in his book “Painting as a Pastime” as “my salvation in an extremely stressful time”.
A similar work by Churchill with a collection of bottles called "Bottlescape" is still hanging in Chartwell.
Churchill created the still life Jug with Bottle in his beloved Chartwell family home in Kent in the 1930s
Churchill's daughter-in-law Pamela married Harriman in the 1970s and the painting was sold after her death in 1997
The Chartwell goldfish pool, which represents the pond in his Kent home, was painted in 1932 and auctioned for £ 1.8 million in 2014.
After the death of his daughter Mary Soames, it was auctioned at Sotheby & # 39; s along with 14 other works and was considered by experts to be one of his masterpieces.
It had been given an estimated value of £ 400,000 to £ 600,000.
Another painting, Tapestries at Blenheim, sold for £ 1 million, while its portrayal of the port of Cannes fetched £ 722,500.
His brightest hours: Winston Churchill plays with his grandchildren in charming photos in Chartwell
Candid snapshots show Winston Churchill, who led Britain from the brink of defeat to victory during World War II, playing with his grandchildren at his family home in Kent.
The photos were taken in 1951, a year after Churchill was appointed prime minister for the second time after losing the general election in 1945 – the year the Six Years War ended.
The former Prime Minister looks relaxed and happy as he sits on a rocking chair in the garden of their house in Chartwell, Kent with his wife Clementine and five of their grandchildren.
Black and white photo shows Winston Churchill with his grandchildren and wife in his family home in Kent
Churchill's Chartwell residence, which he bought for £ 5,000 in 1922 and then spent an additional £ 20,000 on it
The snapshots were taken in 1951, a year after Churchill was reinstated as Prime Minister after losing the general election in 1945 – the year the Six Years' War ended. Pictured Churchill's wife Clementine (right)
Pictures also show him Churchill sitting in his library and walking around the grounds of his home near Westerham, Kent
Photos also show him sitting in his library and walking around the grounds of his home.
Other pictures show him reading in his library and inspecting the grounds of his country house near Westerham.
Despite returning to the highest office, he appears relaxed and serene as he is photographed on an outdoor rocking chair with Clementine and grandchildren Julian, Winston, Arabella, Arthur and Emma.
There is also an amusing picture of Churchill, cigar in his mouth, with his dog on his leg.
The intimate snapshots were taken by his friend Harold David John Cole, former President of the Royal Photographic Society.
You were taken into Churchill's family house, which is located on a hill and has incredible views of the Kentish forests.
He bought it for £ 5,000 in 1922, spent another £ 20,000 on it, and praised his purchase to his wife, Clementine, on the grounds that the house would be worth at least £ 15,000 when he invested.
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