Culture | Events, Museums & Galleries

Mapping the disciplined image of Winston Churchill

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Posted by , 3rd April, 2017

Dr Jonathan Black is a Senior Research Fellow in History of Art at Kingston University, and has recently published a heavily-illustrated book, ‘Winston Churchill in British Art, 1900 to the Present Day: The Titan With Many Faces’. He visually maps the shifting image of Churchill within the artistic medium, from cartoons and paintings to posed photographs and imposing classical sculptures.

Today, Churchill is remembered as a self-assured leader, a war hero, and respected in the literary world. His long-evolving public persona, which is said to have helped sustained his power, enhanced his popularity and enabled his image and name to become synonymous with British identity. By questioning why and examining how Churchill’s image developed over time, Black queries the extent to which the political heavyweight was complicit in the production of his highly curated self. Indeed, particularly towards the end of his career, his public face was often distinctly manipulated from reality.

Churchill was obviously aware of the power of a fine-tuned public performance, so was highly willing to appear in uniform for photo opportunities during the Second World War. He even wrote about the art of political caricature, plus he was an avid collector of cartoons of himself, his allies and opponents. Dr Black’s book explores the developing and evolving public image of Churchill in visual art, from oil paintings to sculpture to political cartoons, including Churchill’s involvement in the production of his (posthumous) representations.

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A Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts, Dr Black became interested in Churchill’s iconography whilst studying the sculptor Ivor Roberts-Jones, whose iconic British celebratory statue of Churchill stands in Parliament Square. Philip Mould & Co. will be showing a limited-edition bronze, cast from a reduced-scale marquette, whose authenticity is verified by the original certificate signed by Roberts-Jones and John Crofton. A leading specialist dealer in British art and Old Masters, the Philip Mould & Co. gallery is in a new three-storied space in Pall Mall.

Philip Mould & Co. will be hosting the book launch with Bloomsbury Publishing, at their Pall Mall gallery on Thursday 20th April, 6:30-8:30pm. The evening will include speeches and books will be available to purchase at a special discounted price. If you would like to attend, please RSVP by emailing RSVP@philipmould.com.

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