Thirty seven paintings by Sir Winston Churchill have been donated to the nation in lieu of £9,404,990 tax, following the death of his daughter. Lady Mary Soames, died last year at 91 and was Sir Winston’s last surviving child.
Most of the works are on display at Chartwell, Churchill’s family home in Kent ,which is part of the National Trust. The others will remain on display in the Houses of Parliament and the Churchill War Rooms. Lady Soames requested in her will that Coast Scene near Cannes (1935) should remain in the Commons and that View From a Bathing Hut at the Miami Surf Club, 1946 continue to be displayed at the war rooms in The Mall in central London.
Churchill painted more than 500 artworks, many of them at Chartwell, and continued his discipline into his 80s. Lady Soames previously wrote that “painting literally grabbed” her father in 1915, when he was 41, “thereafter playing an increasing and abiding role in his life, renewing the source of his great inner strength and enabling him to face storms, ride out depressions and rise above the tough passages in his political life”.
As well as 37 of Churchill’s works, the collection accepted for the nation also includes a painting by Sir John Lavery of the politician standing at his easel and the Aly Khan Gold Cup, which was won by Churchill’s horse, High Hat.
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said: “It is fitting that in the 50th year since his death these paintings by the great war-time leader Sir Winston Churchill will be displayed in three very significant locations that helped shape his life and gives us an opportunity to appreciate the artistic talent of a man who was a colossal figure in world politics.”
Chairman of the Acceptance in Lieu panel, Edward Harley, said Churchill remained one of the UK’s greatest figures. “His paintings let us see the man in the round and not just as a great politician,” he said.