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Winston Churchill’s whisky painting goes on sale

Winston Churchill’s painted still life of his favourite whiskey is up for auction.

Not just a world war II politician, Winston Churchill was also an amateur painter.  While he usually placed his painting prowess in landscapes, this piece is particularly unique as it is a still life, featuring his favourite whiskey brand.  It is expected to sell up to 250,000 at the sotherby’s auction house.

The painting features a bottle of Johnny Walker’s Black label whiskey, a bottle of brandy, a glass jug and two glass cups.  It was painted using oil paints in the 1930s at his country house of Chartwell. Simon Hucker, co-head of modern and post-war British art at Sotheby’s seems to think that his focus was on capturing the reflection and transparency of the glasses, though his fondness for the blend is evident.  The auction house said he often drank it at once when he woke up, with soda water.

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Entitled “Jug with Bottles”, it is a simple painting, certainly not considered to be professionally done. In fact The New York Times once describing “Bottlescape”, another still life painting he did as “truly hideous”.  Suffice it to say, it was a project for leisure, not for anyone eyes in particular. Although, the painting does end up with quite an interesting history.

In the 1940s, Churchill gifted the personal painting to American businessman W. Averell Harriman, who acted as US special envoy to Europe in the 1940s.  As Politicians tending to give paintings to people they thought similarly to, it was quite a good indication of their friendship. This was presumably before he found out about the affair between his daughter-in-law, Pamela Churchill, and Harriman.

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In the end, the painting was sold after Pamela’s death in 1997 (Pamela and Harriman wedded in the 1970s), and is being sold after the current owner’s passing as well.

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