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Painting as a Pastime, the first edition, finely bound in full red morocco by Sangorski & Sutcliffe
London: Odhams Press Limited, Ernest Benn Limited, 1948. First edition, first printing. Full leather. This is the British first edition, first printing of Painting as a Pastime, Churchill's essay about his famous hobby. This copy is finely bound in full red morocco by Sangorski & Sutcliffe. The elegant goatskin binding features a hubbed and gilt ruled spine.  There are gilt rule borders on the covers, gilt rules on the binding edges, gilt page edges, and gilt ruled turn-ins framing striking, marbled endpapers.  Even the gold, red, and black head and foot bands are executed with noteworthy skill and aesthetic effect.  ?Bound by Sangorski & Sutcliffe, London, England? is gilt-stamped on each lower front pastedown.  This venerable firm, founded by Francis Sangorski and George Sutcliffe in 1901, became recognized as one of the leading bookbinders in London.  Like Churchill himself, Sangorski & Sutcliffe endured the First World War, the Great Depression, the Second World War, and post-war austerity.  This truly gorgeous example of the fine binder?s craft is a reminder to collectors that not all fine bindings are created equal.  Condition is better than near fine. The binding remains bright, clean, tight, and square, with just a few trivial scuffs. The contents are exceptional for the edition, crisp and bright with none of the typical spotting and no previous ownership marks. The contents of Painting as a Pastime had been printed in The Strand Magazine as early as 1921, but it was not until 1948 - nearly three decades after his first published words on the subject - that Churchill consented to a book about his hobby and passion. Soldier, writer, and politician, Churchill was perhaps an unlikely painter. Nonetheless he proved both a prolific and passionate one. Churchill first took up painting during the First World War. May 1915 saw Churchill scapegoated for failure in the Dardanelles and slaughter at Gallipoli and forced from his Cabinet position at the Admiralty. By November 1915 Churchill was serving at the Front, leading a battalion in the trenches. But during the summer of 1915, as he battled depression, he rented Hoe Farm in Surrey, which he frequented with his wife and three children. One day in June, Churchill noticed his brother's wife, Gwendeline, sketching in watercolors. Churchill borrowed her brush and swiftly found solace in painting, which would be a passion and source of release and renewal for the remaining half century of his long life. Winston's wife Clementine had opposed the idea of her husband's opining in print on the subject, concerned that he might be belittled by professional painters and others. Clementine aside, it may be that Churchill's comparative reticence on the subject was to keep something personal in the great and turbulent sweep of his otherwise tremendously public life. He wrote, "Painting is a friend who makes no undue demands, excites to no exhausting pursuits, keeps faithful pace even with feeble steps, and holds her canvas as a screen between us and the envious eyes of Time or the surly advance of Decrepitude" (Painting as a Pastime, p. 13). Whatever Churchill's reason for penning and ultimately consenting to book publication of Painting as a Pastime complete with images of his paintings, the relatively few words he offered on the subject add something truly personal and different to the great body of his writing. Bibliographic reference: Cohen A242.1.a, Woods/ICS A125(a), Langworth p.288.
      [Bookseller: Churchill Book Collector]
Last Found On: 2016-12-06           Check availability:      Biblio    


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