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Art at Chartwell trail to open looking at Winston Churchill's love of painting

A new outdoor art trail celebrating the role painting and landscape played in Winston Churchill's life opens at his family home this weekend.

Art at Chartwell invites visitors to embrace the views around his home in Westerham, near Sevenoaks, so much solace, satisfaction and enjoyment while dealing with the heavyweight issues of leading the country.

From Saturday, January 11, eight copies of Chartwell paintings will be placed around the grounds at the viewpoints Churchill painted between 1924 and 1950.

Two large viewfinders framing the landscape will also be there so visitors can create their own view.

Churchill’s Winter Sunshine, Chartwell, 1924 was painted during the first winter the Churchill family lived at Chartwell, near Westerham, and it went on to win first prize in an exhibition for amateur painters at the Royal Academy.

Almost 100 years on, visitors to Chartwell can stand at the same spot Churchill sat to paint his winning canvas and appreciate the view as well as the work.

On the art trail at Chartwell near Sevenoaks Picture: National Trust/Henry Jarvis
On the art trail at Chartwell near Sevenoaks Picture: National Trust/Henry Jarvis

Collections manager Katherine Carter said: "In total, Churchill painted over 500 paintings over the course of his lifetime, and Chartwell houses the single largest collection in the world. There’s no doubt the pastime allowed a release from the pressures and challenges of his career and interestingly, some of his most difficult times saw his highest output as an artist. It’s no small wonder

then that Churchill uttered the words ‘If it weren’t for painting, I couldn’t live, I couldn’t bear the strain of things.’’

Curated by local artist Mary Hooper, also includes a display of community art pieces created by Knole Academy GCSE Art students, Tunbridge Wells Mental Health Resource, and residents of Westbank Care Home, in response to the paintings and landscapes of Chartwell.

On the art trail at Chartwell near Sevenoaks Picture: National Trust/Henry Jarvis
On the art trail at Chartwell near Sevenoaks Picture: National Trust/Henry Jarvis

General manager Zoë Colbeck said: "For the year 2020, the National Trust is focusing on the importance of health and wellbeing, whether that be through getting active in the outdoors, learning something new or becoming more environmentally aware.

"Art at Chartwell is an opportunity for others to get away from it all, take a moment for themselves and discover a new side to Sir Winston Churchill."

The Studio Annex, part of the building where Churchill could paint without interruption, will also be open daily, showing Churchill's creative journey in more detail with a giant interactive ‘touch-wall’ projection.

In the A History of Winston Churchill in 50 Objects exhibition, Chartwell also has a display devoted to Churchill’s life as an artist.

The house and grounds in January at Chartwell Picture: National Trust/Andrew Butler
The house and grounds in January at Chartwell Picture: National Trust/Andrew Butler

There are also garden audio guides to collect at the Visitor Centre, with a Churchill the Artist tour on them, visitors can discover more of the spots at Chartwell that Churchill painted.

DETAILS

Art at Chartwell runs from Saturday, January 11 until Sunday, February 23. Find out more at nationaltrust.org.uk/chartwell or call 01732 868381.

It has been supported by Churchill’s Chartwell Appeal with funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Royal Oak Foundation, National Trust centres and associations, private donors and members of the public.

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Winston and Clementine Churchill are remembered at Chartwell
Winston and Clementine Churchill are remembered at Chartwell

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