A Signed Presentation Portrait of Clementine Churchill, 1945
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Overall: 32.5cm (13in) x 26.7cm (10.5in)
Chlorobromide print. Three quarter length studio portrait by Royal photographer Dorothy Wilding. Signed in ink to the mount in Lady Churchill’s hand 'Clementine S. Churchill’. Image size: 15.5cm x 10.5cm. Framed and glazed.
Clementine Ogilvy Spencer Churchill, Baroness Spencer-Churchill, G.B.E. (née Hozier 1885-1977) was married to Winston Churchill for 56 years from 1908. They had five children together and over the years she offered him much valuable advice. Moreover Winston would have been saved from many mistakes if he had listened to her more often: he would have been less resentful at losing cabinet office in 1915, backed off more quickly from a hard line on Ireland in 1921, trusted Baldwin's judgement during the abdication crisis in 1936, paid more heed to Attlee's complaints about his disorganized ways of handling the cabinet in the Second World War, and refrained from his ill-judged ‘Gestapo’ reference in the general election of 1945 to what a Labour government might do.
Dorothy Wilding began her photographic career as an apprentice to Bond Street photographer Marian Neilson. She established her own Bond Street studio in 1929, where she became a favourite of members of the Royal Family, society figures and film and theatrical stars. In 1937 Wilding became the first woman to be appointed as an Official Royal Photographer, and was responsible for the double portrait of George VI and Queen Elizabeth that was subsequently adapted for the 1937 Coronation issue postage stamp. She opened a second studio in New York in the same year, and was awarded a Royal Warrant in 1943. She is best known for her brightly lit linear compositions photographed in high key lighting against a white background. Her autobiography In Pursuit of Perfection was published in 1958. Her surviving archives were presented to the National Portrait Gallery in 1976 and formed the basis of a major NPG retrospective exhibition and catalogue in 1991, The Pursuit of Perfection. (1893-1976).