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Sir Winston Churchill: His Life And His Paintings Hardcover – Aug 2 2013

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From Publishers Weekly

After Churchill was forced to resign from the WWI British government in 1915 at the age of 40, he took up oils and dived almost completely into painting. Sir Winston certainly didn’t experiment much beyond shifting subject matters, but the "painting muse" that supposedly carried him out of his retirement depression seems to have been an overwhelming, transcendent influence on his later years. Published with the full cooperation of Churchill’s family, this impressive 9" x 12" book offers a large-scale retrospective of the grand statesman’s paintings. Its 500 full-color and black and white reproductions and photos are displayed smoothly throughout the glossy pages and described by precisely detailed captions. Coombs, former editor of The Antique Collector and a lifetime fellow at the Royal Society of Arts, provides historical background and political context for the sometimes-vivid oil paintings. Culled from Churchill’s first days of painting at his Sulley farmhouse (and holidays in Belgium, Switzerland, Canada, Italy, the French Riviera and the United States), the paintings reflect a sincere interest in the meditative process of art-making, and are reminiscent of Monet, Cézanne and, when Churchill is at his best, perhaps Bonnard. Most are impressionistic landscapes or floral still lifes, along with the occasional portrait, such as one done in 1955 of Sir Winston’s wife, Clementine Churchill, and others of various secretaries or political colleagues. The enthusiastic foreword is written by Churchill’s only surviving child, Mary Soames. Two of Churchill’s essays seek to explain the impetus behind the political giant’s second life. As he put it: "We may content ourselves with a joy-ride in a paint-box."
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

"Damn good," said art critic Harry S Truman of a 1958 exhibition of Winston Churchill's paintings, and viewers can declaim as they wish on Churchill's artistic skill, thanks to this comprehensive album of his output. Churchill himself was modest and made no pretense to excellence, regarding his hobby as just that, a serene distraction from the pressures of political life. The authors have reprinted Churchill's 1921 article "Painting as a Pastime," in which Churchill extolled amateur painting as a physical activity ("Just to paint is great fun") as much as for its aesthetic satisfaction. He picked up brush and palette in 1915, and his first efforts were indeed no great shakes--though of biographical interest as they depicted his post on the Western Front. But he worked to improve his technique until he could turn out an accomplished landscape, although the human form often eluded him. A chronology and captions explain the paintings' locales, and photographs show Churchill at the easel in this sunny, colorful treasure for the Churchillian set. Gilbert Taylor
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 16 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Perfect gift for a follower of the great Sir Winston Churchill May 31 2009
By Carol Redden - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This was a birthday gift for my WWII veteran husband. He has enjoyed both the text and art. Anyone who is interested in both the man and his art would find this book satisfying.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A most pleasant surprise! Nov. 7 2013
By Joanna McKenna - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Most people aren't aware that Churchill was a talented, gallery-quality artist who easily could've made a living as a painter or water colorist. Considering he didn't take up this "hobby" until middle age, I was totally amazed by his output. Where did the man find the time to paint between his official duties and writing dozens of books! "His Life and Paintings" only disappoints in that some of his paintings are only shown snapshot-size or in black and white. Other than that, it's a great addition to any Churchill collection.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
An artistic biography May 16 2010
By Book Addict - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
David Coombs has produced a remarkable biography of Winston Churchill and his paintings. He has thoroughly researched the works of Churchill, his life and times, and has combined them in this wonderful book.

While Churchill was a pretty good painter with moments of greatness, the truly interesting aspect of this biography was how the author combined a timeline of what was happening in Churchill's personal and political career with his development as a painter. He went several years where he was unable to produce anything at all, being consumed with War War II and politics. Other years, he was quite prolific.

Coombs has included the complete essays by Churchill on Painting as a Passtime and Hobbies. The full-color plates are very well-done as are the many photos of Churchill painting scattered throughout the book.

If you're looking for a special book for your favorite hobbiest painter, for a Churchill lover, or just a history buff, this would be a good present or addition to your personal library.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Sir Winston Churchill: His Life and His Paintings Jan. 26 2013
By Ivy H. Frierson - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Winston Churchill's life and his paintings are food for the mind & soul and a feast for the eyes!
Having been to London where we visited Churchill's war rooms, then on to Chartwell, where we viewed his paintings as well as getting a tour of the estate where he spent so much of his time, this book gave me a greater appreciation for his life, his work and the wit & wisdom that he revealed throughout. Beautiful book!
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
I Churchill ,I Combat, I Conquer , I Create June 22 2009
By C. M. Lin - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Churchill was a brave soldier, shrewd politician, great fighter, winner of Nobel Prize for Literature and a fine painter.

People might think of Churchill as a famous political leader, but what he will be remembered centuries later, might be more on his writings about the history of English civilization and British people.

Yet what he really wanted to be admired and to pursue, in his first million years up in the heaven, is to study secrets of painting and to enjoy the creation of artworks from his own hands than from commanding troops and teaming with self-interests-driven-allies at a special period to fight and to destroy buildings, cities, enemies and lives.

In this book, you will be surprised to see, how dedicated, if not how good that Churchill was to painting, and his quick sketches, such as a pig is even better than his days long oil paintings ! Maybe his rhetorical words also a sort of simple and forceful painting sketches, that he had practiced in his leisure time and during forced to retirement periods.

Wish you enjoy another dimension of this extraodinary man in addition to his sword, his pen, his rhetorical lectures and his unforgivable writings.Sir Winston Churchill: His Life and His Paintings