CHURCHILL (WINSTON) Photograph signed and dated ("Winston S. Churchill/ 1941"), taken by the official War Office photographer, showing Churchill, in Trinity House uniform, descending the gangplank of HMS Victory followed by Admiral Sir William Milbourne James, [HMS Victory, Portsmouth Docks, 31 January 1941]
Lot 187
CHURCHILL (WINSTON)
Photograph signed and dated ("Winston S. Churchill/ 1941"), taken by the official War Office photographer, showing Churchill, in Trinity House uniform, descending the gangplank of HMS Victory followed by Admiral Sir William Milbourne James, [HMS Victory, Portsmouth Docks, 31 January 1941]
Sold for £8,125 (US$ 13,041) inc. premium

Lot Details
Other Properties
CHURCHILL (WINSTON)
Photograph signed and dated ("Winston S. Churchill/ 1941"), taken by the official War Office photographer, showing Churchill, in Trinity House uniform, descending the gangplank of HMS Victory followed by Admiral Sir William Milbourne James, Commander-in-Chief Portsmouth, with the ship looming behind, sailors watching from the railings, some peering from the gun-ports, vintage gelatin silver print, signed in blue fountain-pen on the image, original stiff card mount, some light dust-staining but overall in fine and attractive condition, size of image 93 x 256 mm., overall 254 x 305mm., [HMS Victory, Portsmouth Docks, 31 January 1941]

Footnotes

  • CHURCHILL VISITS NELSON'S VICTORY DURING BRITAIN'S DARKEST HOUR – A SUPERB IMAGE SIGNED BY CHURCHILL FOR THE PHOTOGRAPHER, CAPTAIN W.T. HORTON. Churchill made his visit to Portsmouth and its dockyard on 31 January 1941, following the devastating air raid on the city on the night of 10/11 January. It was on this occasion that he proclaimed that: 'We shall come through. We cannot tell when. We cannot tell how. But we shall come through'. Churchill's friend Alexander Korda brought out the parallels between Nelson standing against Napoleon and Churchill against Hitler in his film, That Hamilton Woman. Starring the newly-married Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh, this had been made the previous autumn and was to be released that April. It was denounced by the isolationist faction in the United States as blatant propaganda aimed at enticing America into the war. And, famously, became Churchill's favourite wartime viewing.

    Captain W.T. Horton, in whose family this photograph has remained, had worked as a staff photographer on the Times (which reproduced the image at the time), before joining the War Department as an official photographer. Horton accompanied Churchill as his photographer on his travels through wartime Britain as well as to the Atlantic Conference (see the sale in these rooms, 19 June 2013, lot 159). Further photographs by him are displayed on the Imperial War Museum's website. Professor Christopher M. Bell, author of Churchill and Sea Power (2012) has written of our image: 'there are many photos to connect Churchill and the Royal Navy during the twentieth century, but it's hard to imagine a single image that could more effectively link him to Britain's long and glorious naval past' (author's website, post of 1 January 2013).

    Admiral Sir William Milbourne James, Churchill's companion on the gangplank, was the son of Effie Millais, the painter's daughter, and as a child posed for his grandfather's painting 'Bubbles' (for Millais's letter to Effie about the painting, see the sale in these rooms, 12 November 2013, lot 231). During the First World War after commanding the 4th Battle Squadron of the Grand Fleet, he served as deputy to Admiral Hall at 'Room 40', headquarters of Naval Intelligence and forerunner of Bletchley Park and GCHQ, among their intercepts being Sir Roger Casement's German telegrams.
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