Churchill's Inscribed Books display at Chartwell

Two oepn books behind perspex with interpretation panels, and a lamp and photograph of Churchill behind

Churchill was not only a prolific author and wordsmith, he was also a keen reader. Throughout Chartwell there are books which were sent to Churchill by friends, relatives and well-wishers on subjects which they thought would interest him.

Churchill's taste ranged from travel and art to biographies and classic literature, as well as anything in between. 

In the Drawing Room we are highlighting some of the most unique inscribed books in the Chartwell collection.

From books selected in connection to the Treaty of Versailles to mark the 100th year anniversary, to 'The autobiography of a cat' photographs by Martha Swope, the changing display and interpretation highlights the breadth of Churchill's interest in literature.

This display and the information on each book wouldn't have been possible without the work of our volunteers.

Behind the scenes a group of our volunteers have been checking, measuring, cleaning and photographing over 6,000 books here at Chartwell to support the display. They've also been carrying out the lion's share of the research to find out more about the authors and the contents of the books.

This display would not have been possible without the recent acquisition of the 898 inscribed books, thanks to the Churchill at Chartwell appeal. Together they give a powerful impression of what a public institution Churchill had become.

Research is still ongoing but the donations we've received as well as the support from organisations such as the Heritage Lottery Fund has ensured we can keep Churchill and Chartwell and preserve more of the most cherished objects from Churchill's life.

What's on display

June 

See some inscribed books with links to travelling and journeys. Of particular interest is 'Journey Among Warriors' by Eve Curie, daughter of the Nobel Prize winning physicists Pierre and Marie Curie. This book details Curie's journey around the globe made during the Second World War.

July & August

These months see books given by some of the visitors that stayed at Chartwell as guests. This connects to the launch our interactive display of the historic Visitors Book, signed by guests of the Churchill's that stayed at Chartwell.

September, October & November 

While the day are darker and Halloween is on the agenda, we are exploring some of the more unusual books in the collection. Here you'll see 'The Fortune of Eternity' by American psychic Shirley Carson Jenney who claimed it was dictated to her by the dead poet Percy Bysshe Shelley.