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Painting as a Pastime, inscribed by Churchill during his second premiership to his first cousin's wife
New York: Whittlesey House McGraw-Hill Book Company Inc., 1950. First edition, only printing. Hardcover. During his second and final premiership, Churchill inscribed this U.S. first edition of his book about his famous hobby to Lena Frewen, the wife of his first cousin. The inscription inked in black in five lines on the first free endpaper reads: To | Lena | from | Winston | 1952". Lena Frewen (1902-1988) was the wife of Oswald Moreton Frewen. This book comes to us from the Frewen collection, which includes copies of Churchill?'s books spanning more than half a century, from 1906 to 1958, and three generations of Churchill?'s relatives on his mother?'s side, including his Aunt Clara and her descendents. Churchill's first cousin, Oswald Moreton Frewen (1887-1958), was the son of Churchill's Aunt Clara, the elder sister of Churchill's mother, Jennie.  Oswald attended Eton and then joined the Royal Navy in 1902, his "first and only love in the realm of vocation."  (Sailor's Soliloquy, Concluding Note by Leigh Holman, p.246)  Oswald was present in every naval engagement in the North Sea during the First World War and, after the war, served for a period at the Admiralty assisting preparation of the official naval history of the war.  Oswald left the Navy in 1922 for careers in journalism and the law, but returned to active service in the Navy in 1939, the same year that Winston returned to the Government as First Lord of the Admiralty.  Oswald became King?'s Harbour Master of Scapa Flow, a post he held from March 1939 to September 1942, also playing a role in the Algiers and Normandy landings and finally retiring from the Navy in 1945 with the rank of Captain.  That same year, Oswald married Lena Marson Spilman. Lena met Oswald during the war when she was serving in the Women's Royal Naval Service. Born in Beverley, Yorkshire, Lena was a long-standing Justice of the Peace and was an official at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships for many years. They would spend the rest of Oswald's life at Oswald's beloved home, "The Sheephouse" in Brede, East Sussex. Oswald died childless in 1958. Lena lived alone in The Sheephouse until her death nearly 30 years after Oswald's. This book comes to us from Oswald's great-nephew. Painting as a Pastime had been printed in The Strand magazine as early as 1921, but it took nearly three decades for Churchill to consent to an illustrated book about his hobby and passion. Churchill first took up painting during the First World War. It would prove a source of release and renewal for the remaining half century of his long life. Though he was a prolific writer, this book represents nearly all he ever wrote on the subject. Perhaps he sought to keep something personal in the turbulent sweep of his otherwise tremendously public life: "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." Whatever Churchill's reason for ultimately consenting to book publication of Painting as a Pastime, the relatively few words he offered on the subject add something truly personal and different to the great body of his writing. This inscribed copy of the U.S. first edition is in very good condition. The dark blue-green cloth binding remains tight and square with sharp corners and only slight wear to the spine ends. Though differential toning to the endpapers corresponding to the dust jacket flaps testifies that the book was long jacketed, at some point the jacket was lost and the spine is now slightly sunned, with a small strip of light sunning along the top edge of the front cover and a whitish mark to the lower front hinge. The contents remain bright. We note transfer browning to the endpapers and light spotting substantially confined to the prelims and page edges. We find no previous ownership marks other than the author's inscription. Bibliographic reference: Cohen A242.3, Woods/ICS A125(b), Langworth p.290.
      [Bookseller: Churchill Book Collector]
Last Found On: 2015-06-17           Check availability:      Biblio    

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