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 '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 National Lottery Heritage Fund has ensured we can keep Churchill at Chartwell, and preserve more of the most cherished objects from Churchill's life.

What's on display 2021

Check back here to see what's on display for you to see.


This month see 'The tragic era. The Revolution after Lincoln' by Claude Gernade Bowers, published in the 1920s and detailing American history after the assassination of President Lincoln. 

We also have 'Ship ahoy! Nautical notes for ocean travellers' by Sir James Bisset, himself a British merchant sea captain who wrote this guide for everything a passenger might encounter out at sea.