38 Paintings by Winston Churchill Offered to the Nation

Winston Churchill's Studio in his House in Chartwell. Photo: Courtesy of the National Trust UK.

The family of Winston Churchill is offering to the nation 38 paintings created by the former UK prime minister, following the death of his youngest daughter Mary Soames in May, BBC News reports.

The Churchill family has offered the pictures in lieu of inheritance tax. The government’s decision on whether it will accept this deal is expected next year.

Most of the pictures in the lot are currently in the Chartwell family home, in Kent, South East England, where they have been on display since the Churchill residence opened its doors to the public in 1966, a year after his death. In her will, Soames had expressed the wish that the paintings remained there.

The artworks feature a wide range of topics, from intimate family scenes to landscapes painted during holidays abroad, particularly in France. It is said that Churchill’s skills were best put to use when he painted landscapes and seascapes, rather than people.

“When he was good, he was very, very good,” the art historian David Coombs told BBC News, “but sometimes he wasn’t.”

Churchill discovered the pleasures of painting when he was 40 and took up the hobby with gusto, claiming it helped him relax. He was a self-taught artist, and painted more than 500 pictures over a period of forty-eight years. Many of these paintings are now housed in museums, as well as in private collections around the world. Churchill was keen on giving paintings away to friends and colleagues as tokens of appreciation.

Coombs described the paintings as “a national treasure of major historical and artistic importance.” “They represent a side of Churchill that is rarely observed by the public,” he said.

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