University Archives


Winston Churchill TLS Thanking Artist who had Immortalized Him in Several Wartime Portraits

A typed letter signed by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (1874-1965) as "Winston S. Churchill" near the bottom. Dated March 4, 1954. On "Prime Minister / 10, Downing Street, / Whitehall" letterhead complete with a black embossed British coat of arms at upper left. Expected light paper folds and a round partial paper punch imprint (not completely punched out) at upper left, mentioned just for accuracy. Light mounting traces verso, else near fine. 4.75" x 7.5."

Churchill, who was then well into his second term serving as British premier, thanked fellow British artist Frank O. Salisbury (1874-1962) for sending him a copy of the latter's biography, "Sarum Chase: Portrait and Pageant." Churchill wrote in part: "Thank you so much…I look forward to an opportunity of reading it…"

Salisbury was an incredibly popular twentieth-century British artist who painted many celebrities of the day, including Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Benito Mussolini, and members of the House of Windsor. Salisbury's name at the lower left of the letter includes his chivalric title, C.V.O., which means Commander of the Royal Victorian Order.

Salisbury painted Churchill in more sittings than any other artist, eventually producing two of the statesman's most iconic war-dated portraits, "Siren Suit" (1942) and "Blood, Sweat, and Tears" (1943). A Salisbury portrait of Churchill was inaugurated at the Newmarket Headquarters of the Jockey Club, and Churchill was also featured in Salisbury's "The Freedom of the City of London being conferred on the Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill" in the Guildhall.

Churchill was a prolific amateur artist who doubtlessly appreciated Salisbury's artistic skill. Over the 50+ years that Churchill painted as a hobby, he attempted portraits but mostly depicted landscapes and seascapes in brightly colored oils.

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


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