Family of Sir Winston Churchill’s top general sells painting by him for £1.55 million

Scene in Marrakech by Winston Churchill

Guy Bell / Alamy Stock Photo

Sir Winston Churchill’s artwork has undoubtedly enjoyed great popularity recently after it was revealed that one of Hollywood star Angelina Jolie broke records and raised £ 8.3 million during a Christie’s auction. Now the late War Prime Minister’s sale of another painting has raised eyebrows after his friend Field Marshal Bernard ‘Monty’ Montgomery’s family sold a work of art that had been a gift.

Angelina Jolie sells Sir Winston Churchill’s only war painting at Christie’s

The play, entitled “Scene in Marrakech”, sold at the same Christie auction as Jolie’s play (also a Moroccan scene) for £ 1.55 million. Until recently it hung in the study of Monty’s son David’s house with his wife Tessa, but it was sold after his death last year at the age of 91. Sebastian Shakespeare of the Daily Mail revealed that Tessa was unaware of the sale and the high price tag the picture had attracted.

Winston Churchill painting in Marrakech, 1935

Fremantle / Alamy Stock Photo

The painting was a gift from the war leader to his general as a symbol of his friendship and respect and is believed to have been painted during a visit to Morocco in the 1930s. Prior to the auction, Nick Orchard, Head of Modern British Art at Christie’s, said: “Sir Winston Churchill’s gift of his painting” Scene in Marrakech “to Field Marshal Montgomery symbolizes the deep respect and friendship the Prime Minister showed his general. Both an accomplished artist and a famous political figure, the work is among the finest paintings Churchill executed in the 1930s. ‘

While the two were undoubtedly grateful to each other after Germany’s defeat in World War II, there was also tension beneath the surface. In 2018, letters appeared in an auction held by the Hansons Auctioneers Library, which revealed that Monty had at times criticized Churchill’s policies. The correspondence is between Churchill and Sir John Anderson, 1st Viscount Waverley, who forwarded a letter that Monty had sent him criticizing the Prime Minister. The letter sold for £ 4,800.

“Thank you for sending me Montgomery’s letter,” Churchill wrote. “I think he would do much better to stay away from politics that he knows little about … we don’t need to be taught by him, especially when so much of his recent behavior is unexplained … It could be really smart So you’re implying to Montgomery that he should mind his own business much better and the politicians take care of theirs. If I read it again, I find his letter the cheekiest. Thanks for showing me anyway. ‘

Monty had an impressive military career, serving in World Wars I and II and the Irish War of Independence.

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