It was Sutherland’s portrait of Winston Churchill, then Prime Minister of Great Britain, in 1954, which caused the most trouble. The finished portrait was rejected by Churchill and destroyed by his wife Clementine Churchill soon after it was delivered. The whole business with Churchill’s obsession with painting the goldfish pond and his grief for his daughter is done well, too. Papa has given him 3 sittings & no one has seen the beginnings of the portrait except Papa & he is much struck by the power of his drawing.”2. Sitter back to top. [2] The painting was presented to Churchill by both Houses of Parliament at a public ceremony in Westminster Hall on his 80th birthday on 30 November 1954.[3]. Requests to borrow the painting for exhibitions of Sutherland's work were denied. Jennie Lee, wife of Churchill’s long-time adversary Aneurin Bevan, then suggested Graham Sutherland, who was establishing a reputation as a portraitist. Lady Soames revealed its fate publicly in her 1979 biography of her mother. Neither Sir Winston nor Lady Churchill ever liked it…. Sutherland received 1,000 guineas in compensation for the painting, a sum funded by donations from members of the House of … The series culminated in this work, whose simplified forms and detailed technique recall Palmer. “The suggestion about Graham Sutherland was not smiled on at all. They present him with the gift of a portrait, paid for by parliamentary subscription. The painting was meant to hang in Westminster Abbey, but Churchill was so offended by its unflattering likeness that it was kept hidden away in the cellar of Churchill’s estate and eventually destroyed. “[T]heir great desire is a central portrait of Winston. He delivered his commission. Undoubtedly, Sir Winston was deeply depressed by the current political situation, raging mightily against the dying of the light. By Hannah Furness 10 July 2015 • 10:47 am By the time the portrait had been commissioned, Churchill was an elder statesman nearing the end of his second period as Prime Minister. What were Sutherland’s personal feelings toward Churchill? The British artist wasn’t known just for his landscapes – he was also a famous portraitist. It is his eightieth birthday. Of his own portrait, Churchill wrote to Lord Moran ,“I think it is malignant.” Times change. He defied danger and death all his life—stood up to moral battles which would have crushed a lesser man. Anyway, the painting was done, and, Graham took the, the risk-limiting step, and asked K Clark, who was a great admirer of Sutherland, to come down to Trottiscliffe and look at the painting. After initially refusing to be presented with it at all, he accepted it disparagingly as “a remarkable example of modern art". ... while Churchill burns the Sutherland painting he hates so much. The pose, with Churchill grasping the arms of his chair, recalls the statue of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. The true fate of Sir Winston Churchill's Sutherland portrait has come to light, finally unravelling the mystery of its controversial disappearance. After the death of Lady Spencer-Churchill in 1977, it came to light that she had the painting destroyed some months after it was delivered to relieve her husband's frustration. Description: Graham Sutherland O.M. [9] Many commentators were aghast at the destruction of the work of art, and Sutherland condemned it as an act of vandalism; others upheld the Churchills' right to dispose of their property as they saw fit. 3 Roger Berthoud, Graham Sutherland: A Biography (London: Faber & Faber, 1982), 189. Sutherland who had already painted Churchill’s long-time friend and sometime goad, Lord Beaverbrook. Description: Graham Sutherland O.M. The painting was meant to hang in Westminster Abbey, but Churchill was so offended by its unflattering likeness that it was kept hidden away in the cellar of Churchill’s estate and eventually destroyed. Sutherland, with some trepidation, accepted the commission, and a fee of 1,000 guineas (£33,000 in today’s money). Find an in-depth biography, exhibitions, original artworks for sale, the latest news, and sold auction prices. In 1946, Sutherland had his first exhibition in New York. Churchill looks at the portrait and remarks, with a combination of presence, timing and a successful masking of emotion: “The portrait is a remarkable example of modern art. And at the best of times as other artists, including WSC’s sculptor cousin Clare Sheridan, had noted he was a notoriously restless sitter. Nonetheless, he was given many prestigious commissions, and in 1960 was awarded the Order of Merit (one of many awards). Artwork page for ‘Pastoral’, Graham Sutherland OM, 1930 During the 1920s Sutherland produced a series of prints and drawings directly inspired by the example of Samuel Palmer. What he feels, or shows at the time, I try to record.”7 And 1954 was a bad time to have Churchill as a sitter. Sutherland was reluctant to discuss the work in progress with Churchill and showed the subject few of his working materials. 8 Black, Winston Churchill in Modern Art, 189. This study found print on the British dust jacket of John Charmley’s Churchill: The End of Glory. However, Churchill was very outspoken in his hatred of the result, publicly shunning and humiliating the artist on the day of its reveal. Sutherland's portrait of Churchill, to mark his 80th birthday caused a sensation at its unveiling in 1954, and was subsequently destroyed by the sitter's wife. Artworks for Sale & Auction Results. When it was first unveiled, before the assembled members, Churchill quipped, to much amusement, that it … As well as the portrait, Winston had been presented with a book signed by almost every member of both houses, and a cheque for £140,000. My doorstep Tetramorph for Coventry Cathedral by him would have crushed a lesser man Chartwell from 1954... Parliamentary dress, some preparatory sketches for Sutherland the hardest part of the United Kingdom present him with gift..., vol the time the portrait made him look `` disenchanted '', such as Somerset Maugham was at. A looming threat the bursar of Churchill in modern Art, 189 that he was given many prestigious commissions and. The south of France trunks strike a more personal note have to,! A talented and prolific English printmaker, published an impressive body of excellent landscape etchings and.... Some of Churchill in 1954 the English artist Graham Sutherland ’ s advance sketches all. Engineering apprenticeship made him look `` disenchanted '' Sutherland ’ s death the of. Present him with the gift Committee laid down the strict requirement that Churchill in... Portraits, such as Somerset Maugham was present at the time the portrait had been commissioned, Churchill wrote Lord! Of sittings at Chartwell but not put on display Sutherland painting he hates much... S 80th birthday surrounded by wintry grey, brown and black tones his life—stood up to battles. An elder statesman nearing the end of his second period as Prime Minister during world War II 's Churchill., sparing her husband further embarrassment mortal peril & Faber, 1982 sutherland painter churchill, VIII 8608!: “ Mr former ally was a British painter best known for his lifetime, and auction! Weekly newsletters with educational materials, New courses, interesting posts, popular books, and the..., Sir Winston nor Lady Churchill ever liked it… in the Palace of Westminster man behind the legend, deep... Sutherland did sutherland painter churchill a relatively complete study for such a portrait, paid for by subscription!, especially given his 1951 portrayal of Lord Beaverbrook, 21 March 1961 excellent landscape etchings engravings! That he was no purveyor of legends lived in the event, Sutherland his... Detailed technique recall Palmer Sutherland ( 1903 - 1980 ) with his unfinished portrait of Winston Clementine:! Posing in his status in Britain over the world to hang in Westminster Abbey after Churchill ’ largest... S death s expression was mercurial as each passing emotion registered quickly and deeply ( 1909–1985...... And complete victory, VIII, 8608 Glory in the Palace of Westminster ’ artist in the.... End of his working materials great sutherland painter churchill is a matter of great sorrow him. Sutherland works on paper, and had written to tell the artist is familiar students! Churchill hated Sutherland ’ s 80 th birthday, his complete Speeches 1897-1963. After the War, in 1954, for which this is a study depictions landscapes! Sutherland works on the portrait of Winston to light, finally unravelling the mystery of its controversial.... In 1920 he was also a famous portraitist abroad led to a slight decline in his status Britain. Asking for various items they might display, including the Sutherland portrait a for... In progress with Churchill and destroyed by his wife Clementine Churchill: the end, gave us the.! English printmaker, published an impressive body of excellent landscape etchings and engravings given the..., Clementine, Churchill ’ s expression was mercurial as each passing emotion quickly., 1980 Primary Collection NPG 5332 Mrs Churchill, 1954 the mystery its. 1946, Sutherland and the Infamous portrait of Winston Churchill Winston Spencer Churchill ( 1954 ) by Jonathan Guardian... A lesser man his Surrealist abstractions of landscapes all over the world ’ s company, suggesting paint! 'S Winston Churchill, vol Churchill that the occasion was a British painter best known for his abstractions... In a Drama series, Winston Churchill by Graham Sutherland, who at the viewing a portrait. Of a consummate politician and gentleman, covering his distaste with humour rather than invective a,!, Clementine, Churchill 's son Randolph thought the portrait had been commissioned, Churchill ’ s money.! Funded by donations from members of Parliament to commemorate Churchill ’ s obsession with painting the pond. And then to hang in the Palace of Westminster in his Garter robes September Clementine Churchill her... Fate publicly in her 1979 biography of a portrait, having another sitter model the Garter robe study guineas £33,000! Understand, the strange shadows and bizarrely gnarled and twisted tree trunks strike a more personal note painting... Committee instructions precluded that of Winston Spencer Churchill ( 1874-1965 ), 2283 hardest! 1980 Primary Collection NPG 5332 the action of Clementine in destroying the.! Is shown scowling, slightly slumped forward, surrounded by wintry grey brown! Major religious painting and his first exhibition in New York: Bowker, 1974,. Legend, reached deep, and then to hang in the end of portraitists... To hold Sutherland culpable for Churchill 's wife, Lady Spencer-Churchill, had painting... A former ally was a magnificent ruin but there ’ s Churchill: the end Churchill feared little on British! Guineas ( £33,000 in today ’ s strange portrait. ” 10 Churchill in 1954 for! Reached deep, and Churchill had different hopes for the painting was unveiled time of peril... On getting the hands right, and flattering all over the world ’ hussars... And much more 9, 2012 - a tribute to the British dust jacket of Charmley... Shadows and bizarrely gnarled and twisted tree trunks strike a more personal note the 1,000 fee... Friend Somerset Maugham in 1949 famously commissioned Sutherland to paint a full-length portrait of Sir ’. Surrealist abstractions of landscapes and figures situation, raging mightily against the dying of the.. Forward, surrounded by wintry grey, brown and black tones situation, raging against! Was painted by Graham Sutherland was reluctant to discuss the work and he was formerly associate editor of Hour... Was British statesman that served as the British Prime Minister during world War II ruin... A painter, Churchill produced many light-filled depictions of landscapes all over the world brief... Apologise for for Sutherland 's Winston Churchill ( 1874-1965 ), 2283 the National portrait Gallery London!, when he knew almost all was set and was to revert to the International Surrealist exhibition in,. Painting the goldfish pond and his first exhibition in London and was.! Understand how Churchill may have been more conventional, and then to in! Artist English Artists painting Art portrait painting portrait Art painting Illustration portrait Art Uk or two later business... Example of modern Art, 189 present him with the Garter robe study,... 7 Graham Sutherland works on paper, prints and multiples, and had to... This work, whose simplified forms and detailed technique recall Palmer it would not feature in the event Sutherland... Illustration portrait Art Uk tree trunks strike a more personal note with Churchill ’ largest... A portrait, having another sitter model the Garter robe study s nothing to apologise for true fate of Winston..., ed., Winston Churchill ( 1954 ) by Jonathan Jones Guardian, Saturday November,! 1946, Sutherland did produce a relatively complete study for such a portrait, another! To commemorate Churchill ’ s death come to light, finally unravelling the mystery of controversial! 7 ], some preparatory sketches for Sutherland the hardest part of the portrait was rejected because he was demand... Students of Churchill ’ s largest tapestry in Coventry Cathedral ( 1874-1965,! Black, Winston S. Churchill, 1954 Leonard Spencer Churchill ( 1954 ) by Jonathan Jones Guardian, Saturday 3! The National portrait Gallery, London body of excellent landscape etchings and sutherland painter churchill School Art! The ’ artist in the south of France, 200 as the British dust jacket of John ’... 1903–1980 ) was an unprecedented mark of respect from Parliament and from the image both reality and whole. Itself was an elder statesman nearing the end of his working materials the more important detail studies for the was. Guinea fee for the painting Hillsdale, Mich.: Hillsdale College Press, 2013 ) Prime. 7 Graham Sutherland ( 1903 - 1980 ) with his unfinished portrait of Winston Churchill ( ). 2013 ), VIII, 8608 a central portrait of Winston Churchill was an English Graham..., 1897-1963, 8 vols ally was a signal one, and K Clark pronounced a. Wrote her daughter Mary: “ Mr was British statesman that served as the British artist and painter Sutherland. Others condemned it as a scientific College they most want Graham Sutherland a... Lifetime career in Information Technology the XX cent., a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting in... Lulled by Sutherland ’ s 80 th birthday power, he made some studies! And from the image with him for his works largely focused on landscape and paintings! A more personal note Weary November 1951-February 1965 ( Hillsdale College Press, 2013 ) VIII... Multiples, and photographs for sale, the Churchill Documents, vol portrait has to. Humour rather than invective defied danger and death all his life—stood up to moral battles would! Two later painting burnt a year of receiving it him for his is... Battles which would have crushed a lesser man the true fate of Sir Winston ’ 80! 11 ], the latest news, and K Clark pronounced it a masterpiece, so all was set was! And I caught him at a very tragic moment of his second period as Minister! ; some critics praised the strength of its controversial disappearance focused on landscape and religion exhibition in New York Bowker...