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Winston Churchill - A Life Study for the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports Portrait, 1955
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Winston Churchill - A Life Study for the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports Portrait, 1955

Measurements: Overall: 57cm (22.5in) x 51.5cm (20in)



Oil on canvas. An unsigned oil sketch by Bernard Hailstone, R.P. (1910-1987). Contained in a modern glazed box frame. Canvas: 40cm (16in) x 35cm (13.5in).

Provenance: Studio of the artist

A preparatory oil on canvas sketch of Winston Churchill made in the Prime Minister’s eighty-second year as part of the initial works for the full length portrait of Churchill as Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports.

Following the debacle of the Graham Sutherland portrait which both Clementine and Winston graciously accepted and not so privately despised, Hailstone was considered an altogether safer bet to produce a final full-length portrait. Hailstone certainly seems to have enjoyed Churchill’s confidence as a portraitist, having submitted at least two life sized pencil drawings to Chartwell that were endorsed with the great man’s autograph signature- one being gifted to his wartime associate and close friend Lord Rootes.  

In the finished Cinque Ports portrait (now in the Imperial War Museum) Churchill is depicted in full dress uniform whereas here and in another known preparatory work he is shown open necked and at ease in one of his self-designed romper suits. Conveniently Hailstone was a relatively close neighbour in the mid 1950s, living and working at Hadlow Castle, a dozen or so miles from Chartwell. According to Hailstone’s interview with a London hotel magazine, Churchill was forthright in his demands when he stormed into his studio, still smarting from the Sutherland affair. ‘’It was a Friday afternoon and I was up in the attic, arranging it as a studio, when Sir Winston came in. “Graham Sutherland”, he snarled, “made me look like some half dead thing. I’m not, am I?”’ Moreover. Hailstone found Churchill a tricky customer who would not stay still and ‘was constantly moving while dictating his ‘History of The English Speaking Peoples’ as I was trying to paint him …’

Bernard Hailstone, R.P. (1910-1987) trained at Goldsmiths and the Royal Academy Schools. At the start of the Second World War he joined the  Auxiliary Fire Service,and recorded the drama of the Blitz. He was a contributor to the War Artists’ Advisory Committee (WAAC), and following his release from the Fire Service In 1943, he recorded the activities of the Merchant Navy as an official war artist in North Africa and Italy. In June 1945, he was transferred to the Ministry of Information  to record the work of the South East Asia Command and the Burma Campaign. The paintings he produced of Lord Mountbatten as C-in-C SEAC and key members of his staff are now in the Imperial War Museum. Post war Hailstone developed a successful career as a portrait painter. A gregarious and outgoing man, he went on to paint members of the Royal family, the actors Lord Olivier and Sir Peter Ustinov, the conductor Sir John Barbirolli and the philanthropist Paul Mellon.