'Light is life'
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.
Christmas at Chartwell
Although the house is closed through November for conservation care, specially selected rooms of the house will be open for weekends in December.
Come visit the house decked in Christmas finery.
Join us from 15 November for our winter exhibition as we mark the 50th anniversary of the passing of Sir Winston Churchill. Become part of the moving feature that includes never before seen objects, letters and mementoes. There are five features looking at the passing, the aftermath, the funeral, his legacy and how we still remember the great statesman today.
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
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 bombardment.
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.
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
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
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
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