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Rare Churchill Painting Acquired by National Churchill Museum

FULTON, MO – An exquisite painting by Sir Winston Churchill titled “Lake Scene at Norfolk” has been donated by the Monsanto Company to the National Churchill Museum on the campus of Westminster College in Fulton, MO.

The circa 1935 painting was unveiled during a brief ceremony at the museum on June 8, the 103rd anniversary of Churchill receiving his first set of brushes from a sister-in-law, Gwendoline Churchill, according to records. She had encouraged Churchill to start painting to escape the pressures of politics, according to historian Timothy Riley, Sandra L. and Monroe E. Trout Director and Chief Curator of the National Churchill Museum.

The value of the painting was not disclosed.

“Lake Scene at Norfolk” is a 20-inch x 24-inch oil on canvas painting of a tranquil scene of a tree-lined blue lake in Norfolk, located on England's east coast along the North Sea. Among the painting's exquisite attributes is the fact "it clearly shows Churchill's keen attention to reflected color and light on water," Riley says.

"Churchill was 40 years old when he started painting, and soon discovered his talent, especially in painting landscapes and seascapes," Riley says. "He was a visionary thinker and a creative leader who saw the world as few others did. It seems natural that he took up painting and became so passionate about it for as long as he lived."

The painting was acquired in December 1993 by Monsanto from Edwina Sandys (pronounced sands), Churchill's granddaughter and a noted artist, who said the rarely seen painting was exhibited briefly at a Churchill exhibition she organized with her sister, Celia, in New York City in 1983.

“Lake Scene at Norfolk” was then stored away and safeguarded until it was sold to Monsanto, which previously donated two other Churchill paintings to the museum.

Monsanto was founded in St. Louis in 1901, the same year the 25-year-old Churchill was establishing himself as a rising political star in London.

“Lake Scene at Norfolk” is one of four Churchill paintings that will be permanently displayed at the National Churchill Museum, the only museum in North America fully dedicated to commemorating the life and times of Churchill, one of the world's greatest leaders of the 20th century.

Located on the campus of Westminster College, the museum is a state-of-the-art facility that combines interactive sight, sound, and touch technology to tell Churchill's life story. It is open to the public. In addition to the four paintings on display, the National Churchill Museum has, since 2015, cared for 16 other Churchill paintings on loan from the family of the late Julian Sandys, a grandson of Churchill and the brother of Edwina and Celia Sandys.

Riley said many of those paintings have been shown in recent years at major exhibits in St. Louis, MO; Long Beach, CA; Palm Beach, FL; Hillsdale, MI; and, Spartanburg, SC.

The National Churchill Museum marks its 50th anniversary next year. It was built on the campus of Westminster College, where Churchill delivered his historic "Iron Curtain" speech in 1946, which started the Cold War with what then was known as the Soviet Union.