Signed Churchill portrait photo by Yousuf Karsh could be victorious this week


2015-06-26 12:35:13


Signed Churchill portrait photo by Yousuf Karsh could be victorious this week

Sometimes called the 'roaring lion', this belligerent pose of Churchill is known around the world

This week will see an extensive, varied and fascinating auction at Dominic Winter, based around Autographs, Historical Documents and Ephemera including a doubled-signed portrait photograph of Winston Churchill by Yousuf Karsh.

Created in 1941 as a vintage gelatin silver print, it is signed in pencil by the photographer at the lower left and in ink lower centre by the sitter 'Winston S Churchill' with a trademark flourish beneath. There is a little crackling to image borders.

That is: a very rare double-signed vintage photograph of the most famous portrait of Churchill, one of the most reproduced portraits in photography. The photograph was taken by Karsh in 1941 just after Churchill had addressed the Canadian Parliament.

Signed Winston Churchill photograph Yousuf KarshWinston Churchill - particularly defiant when bereft of nicotine

Karsh recalls the event in his book 'Faces of Our Time' (1971):

"He was in no mood for portraiture and two minutes were all he would allow me as he passed from the House of Commons Chamber to the anteroom.

"Two niggedly minutes in which I must try to put on film a man who had already written or inspired a library of books, baffled all his biographers, filled the world with his fame, and me, on this occasion, with dread."

Churchill arrived in the room with a cigar stuck between his teeth and a scowling expression, "regarding my camera as he might the German enemy". Noting the cigar's seeming incompatibility with the occasion, Karsh removed the cigar.

"At this the Churchillian scowl deepened, the head was thrust forward belligerently, and the hand placed on the hip in an attitude of anger".

The steadfast, defiant and unconquerable image was emblematic of Churchill and England at this time. Churchill later said to Karsh, "You can even make a roaring lion stand to be photographed".

More of the incident is recounted in Karsh a Fifty-Year Retrospective, a signed copy of which we have available at the moment. Collectors of Churchill memorabilia have even more to look over including this rare signed letter written from his London home.

Dominic Winter's sale takes place in Cirencester, UK, on October 6.

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