Curator's Choice: five must-sees at Chartwell

In 2013 I began my role as House and Collections Manager at Chartwell and became its Project Curator in 2017. My background is in modern history and collections-care, which together led me to interpreting and caring for Winston Churchill’s beloved home. My passion is sharing the stories of our heritage and using the tangible survivors of our history, that being our collections and material culture, to connect people to the past – the good, the bad and in some cases, the ugly. Here are my five must-see items on permanent display in our ‘A History of Winston Churchill in 50 Objects’ exhibition.

Katherine Carter, Project Curator Katherine Carter Project Curator
Three of Churchill's Romeo y Julieta cigars

Those famous cigars

No object more immediately connects us to its owner than Winston Churchill and his cigars. I remember first seeing the cigars at Chartwell, it felt almost like a celebrity-sighting. They defined his popular image and made him immediately recognisable to onlookers.

A close up of the 'A Few' sampler

'The Few' Sampler

His words inspired a nation at war and this humble gift captures their power. Cherished by Churchill, this embroidered sampler of words from one of his speeches was created in 1951 by a grateful member of the public.

Churchill's Italian Lake Scene displayed in the Winston Churchill in 50 Objects exhibition

Italian Lake Scene painting by Sir Winston Churchill

Painting became an antidote to pressure and strain for Churchill. This one, painted in 1945 after losing the general election, embodies his response to the most difficult moments in his life.

The Orliux Trench Torch sitting in a display cabinet in the 'A History of Winston Churchill in 50 Objects' exhibition

Orilux Trench Torch

This First World War shrapnel-damaged torch, intended to light the way across no-man’s-land in the dark, saved Churchill’s life, but how?

The picture of Randolph Churchill, Winston's father, printed on silk

Stevengraph of Lord Randolph Churchill

The man who Churchill thought he couldn’t live up to was never far from Churchill’s thoughts, including in this cherished picture of his father printed unusually on silk

Churchill arriving in Geneva, 1946

A History of Winston Churchill in 50 Objects

Gain a unique insight into the extraordinary life of Sir Winston Churchill. Our exhibition presents a collection of Churchill’s own cherished possessions, many of which have not been displayed before, collected by him over the course of his lifetime.