A Signed Portrait of Sir Winston Churchill by Vivienne, 1951
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Image: 26cm x (10.25in) x 22cm (8.5in)
An autograph signed vintage bromide print of Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965), half-length by the society photographer Vivienne. Image: 10.8cm x 7.8cm. Contained in modern, glazed easel backed frame.
The present portrait dates to the term of Churchill’s second term as Prime Minister from 1951 to 1955 when he became the first of the Queen’s twelve Prime Ministers (eight Conservative and four Labour) of the last sixty years.
Churchill was a formidable presence for the young Queen, who remained in awe of the great war leader. At their first audience, Churchill told the Queen he could advise her from a lifetime of experience, but the time would come when she would advise Prime Ministers younger than herself from a similar standpoint; and so it has proved.
An early example of the Queen’s rights as a constitutional monarch, ‘to be consulted, to encourage and to warn’ were exercised over the issue of live television coverage of the Coronation in June 1953. Churchill opposed it, and, initially, the Queen was also doubtful. Eventually, the Queen’s view that the benefits would outweigh the disadvantages prevailed. Asked by an old court favourite whether Churchill was attempting to mentor her, as Melbourne had mentored the young Queen Victoria, she replied, ‘Not at all, I find him very obstinate.’ Nevertheless, it is acknowledged that she learned much from the old warrior.
The photographer ‘Vivienne’ was born Florence Vivienne Mellish and first trained and performed as a singer. On marriage to Ernest Entwistle, an artist, she took up a successful career as a miniaturist. She began her career in photography in 1934 assisting her husband and photographer son Antony Roger (1918-1957), who later changed his name to Beauchamp and in 1949 became the second husband of Churchill’s daughter Sarah. In 1939 Vivienne established her own studio where inter alia she photographed five successive prime ministers. Her portraits are collected in her autobiography ‘They Came to My Studio’ (1956).