House

'Light is life'

The house is set out much as it would have looked in the 1920s and 30s © Jonathan Primmer

The house is set out much as it would have looked in the 1920s and 30s

Churchill once wrote 'light is life' and no where is this more evident than the Drawing Room where the windows on three sides give the room its special airy quality. The chintz curtains chosen by Clementine are a 1950s design and add even more colour. This was the room guests and the family would normally withdraw to, generally after dinner but also served as an initial gathering place.

'Light is life'

The house is set out much as it would have looked in the 1920s and 30s © Nick Guttridge

The house is set out much as it would have looked in the 1920s and 30s

The Dining Room at Chartwell holds just as much light with a door leading directly in to the gardens and windows on three sides that provide extensive views in all directions. The room would have hosted many heated conversations with political colleagues as they debated appeasement in the 1930s as well as convivial times with friends and family.

'Light is life'

Over 130 paintings by Churchill are on display in the studio  © Chartwell / National Trust

Over 130 paintings by Churchill are on display in the studio

Churchill painted well over 500 canvasses so Clementine was relieved when his hobby was eventually moved to the newly created studio - oil paint on the drawing room carpet wasn't an unusual occurrence. The studio is now bedecked with Churchill's pieces, most unframed and in various stages of completion. He particularly liked to work with oil and is notable for the way he captured water.

The biographical exhibition

Chartwell’s winter exhibition always explores a new topic

The space houses a number of exciting never before seen mementos belonging to the family.

Focusing on five aspects of Winston Churchill's life, the exhibition takes you through his childhood,political career, home life, artistry and military training.

It's who you know

The Visitors' Book found in the hall is turned about 3 times a year. From it we can see the array of people who visited Churchill. The Queen Mother paid Chartwell a visit as did President Harry Truman. Charlie Chaplin visited but Winston Churchill's children didn't believe it was him until he did the iconic walk in the hall.

An avid artist

Plug Street

Plug Street by Sir Winston Churchill © National Trust

Dated 1916 Churchill painted this view of Plug Street (Ploegsteert) in Belgium while acting as Commanding Officer of the 6th Royal Scots. The oil painting on canvas depicts Ploegsteert under bombradment.

Winter Sunshine

Winter Sunshine by Winston Churchill © National Trust

Winter Sunshine was painted in the winter of 1924, the year the family moved to Chartwell and experienced heavy snowfall. Churchill anonymously nominated this piece for an amateur art competition and won first prize in 1925.  The reverse has a handwritten note from the judges congratulating Churchill.

Bottlescape

Bottlescape by Winston Churchill © National Trust

Painted in 1926 the story has it that one Christmas Day Churchill asked his children to scour the house collecting bottles and glasses for him to paint. The picture features some of his favourite vintages as well as an Italian dwarf altar candlestick. It's possible the reflection in one of the drinks might be of the man himself.

The golden winkle

A golden winkle belonging to Sir Winston Churchill © Jon Primmer

A golden winkle belonging to Sir Winston Churchill

Sir Winston Churchill became a member of the Winkle Club in 1955, an all-male club known for its charity work  especially for impoverished children. Members carried a winkle and were challenged to 'winkle up', failure to present their winkle incurred a fine which was donated to charity.

Sign of respect

A sparkling gift from General Charles de Gaulle to Lady Churchill © Jon Primmer

A sparkling gift from General Charles de Gaulle to Lady Churchill

The Lalique French cockerel was presented to Lady Churchill by President de Gaulle. Churchill and de Gaulle had a rather tense relationship during the war and found it difficult to get on, they did however generate a great respect for each other as this gift shows.

Object of the month

Japanese cigar box given to Churchill by the President of Japan © Jonathan Primmer

Japanese cigar box given to Churchill by the President of Japan

Find out the background behind some of our treasured items here at Chartwell from the people that know them best; our volunteers. Each month one of our passionate room guides will highlight one of their favourite pieces from the collection

Meet the man of the house

Jock VI has made himself very much as home at Chartwell. He likes to come and go as he pleases and carries on the request made by Churchill himself that a cat called Jock should always live at Chartwell.

Share