Sir Winston Churchill Memorial Bust, First Edition 1965
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Height: 18cm (7in)
Unglazed porcelain portrait bust after Oscar Nemon modelled in characteristic open necked siren suit. Commissioned by the ceramic manufacturer Spode in an edition of 1,000 in 1965 to mark the death of the great statesman.
Nemon met Churchill by chance at La Mamounia hotel, Marrakech in 1951. A common interest in art led to a longterm friendship evinced by Churchill’s sculpted portrait of Nemon that can be found in the studio at Chartwell. Oscar Nemon (1906-1985) was born into a Jewish family in Croatia, worked as a sculptor in Vienna in the late 1920s. He sculpted Sigmund Freud’s dog Topsy and later studied in Paris and Brussels where he shared a house there with the painter René Magritte for much of the 1930s. Aside from commissioned portraits of sitters such as Freud and King Albert I and Queen Astride of the Belgians, he pursued his own interests in Cubist compositions. In 1938 the rise of the Nazis prompted his move to Britain where he was taught English by Max Beerbohm, whom he sculpted, and by whom he was sketched in 1939. Settling initially in Oxford, Nemon established a studio at Boars Hill in 1941, and spent the war years fire-watching in London, sculpting, exhibiting and beginning to consolidate a reputation in Britain. Granted a studio by H.M. Queen Elizabeth II at St. James's Palace, Nemon's post-war career became best known for an array of distinguished sitters including Elizabeth II and the Queen Mother, Eisenhower, Truman, Beaverbrook, Montgomery and Macmillan.