Tuesday 3 Dec 2019. Nicholas Reed on ‘The paintings and wit of Winston Churchill and Noel Coward’

For over forty years, Winston Churchill was a keen amateur artist. He painted from 1915, right down to his retirement in the 1950s. His landscapes record almost every country which he visited as a distinguished statesman. In Britain he painted at Blenheim, where he was born, at Port Lympne and Trent Park, where he stayed, and at Chartwell, his final home. Abroad, he painted in France and Belgium, from the trenches of World War One, and after that, on the French Riviera. He also painted in Europe, at exotic locations like Morocco and Egypt, and in Canada and the United States. Churchill’s wit is legendary: there are even books about it, but I shall not announce his best lines in this summary of a lecture!

Churchill discussed painting with Noel Coward, who was another keen amateur artist for over forty years. Indeed, Churchill persuaded Coward to stop using watercolour and convert to full oil painting. In Britain, Coward painted in or near his two Kentish homes: Goldenhurst, and his magnificent house overlooking the sea at St Margaret’s Bay. He painted in Italy, at Venice and Portofino, but also three other Mediterranean locations which have yet to be identified. Perhaps you will be able to identify them? The majority of his paintings are of Jamaica: he retired and had two homes there. Coward of course used wit and humour in many of his plays and musicals, as well as in his personal life.



Nicholas Reed

An art historian and archaeologist. In the 1980s he became Founder- Chairman of the Friends of Shakespeare’s Globe. In 2005 he was one of two Lecturer Representatives on the The Arts Society Advisory Council and also Vice-Chairman of Folkestone. He is the author of four books on the Impressionists in England, and one on the Frost Fairs on the Frozen Thames.




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