Sarah Churchill-Curtis Hooper Prints

by Richard M. Langworth on 7 March 2009

wclithoIn the 1970s, Sarah Churchill was involved in the com­mer­cial pub­li­ca­tion of a series of draw­ings by Cur­tis Hooper enti­tled, “A Visual Phi­los­o­phy of Sir Win­ston Churchill.”  I am often asked about these draw­ings, and what they are worth. I am qual­i­fied nei­ther to appraise art nor to tes­tify to its gen­uin­ity, and offer what I know herewith.

Except for one pic­ture based on a sketch of her father by Sarah, each print was based on a famous pho­to­graph of Sir Win­ston. The pub­lisher was Graphic House in New Jer­sey. The scheme was quite successful.

Each print was assigned a par­tic­u­lar Churchill quo­ta­tion and signed by Sarah in pen­cil, num­bered, and pre­sented with a debossed Churchill coat of arms and quo­ta­tion. The pub­lished for­mat was 22 1/2″ x 34 1/2″. Some sources say each print had an edi­tion of 400, and some prints indi­cate 300. But this was a max­i­mum fig­ure, and in fact the actual num­ber pro­duced was much lower (see let­ter below).

These prints are also seen (also signed in pen­cil) in smaller for­mat, about the size of a sheet of U.S. sta­tionery, but were not part of the orig­i­nal project and appear to be repro­duc­tions. Indeed it may be that some of large for­mat prints now offered are repro­duc­tions. Nei­ther I nor The Churchill Cen­tre is capa­ble of val­i­dat­ing orig­i­nals. As always with all fine art, one should buy from a rep­utable dealer who is able to sup­ply prove­nance and assure authenticity.

Very few full col­lec­tions of these prints exist, and a com­plete set would be quite valu­able. The smaller prints seem to be very numer­ous, but since they are not orig­i­nals they carry no authen­tic­ity and no great value. The larger prints, prop­erly authen­ti­cated, are worth much more.

Finest Hour #117, Win­ter 2002-03, fea­tured what we then believed to be a com­plete col­lec­tion of six­teen prints, donated to Hills­dale Col­lege by the Churchill scholar, Dr. Harry V. Jaffa. Infor­ma­tion received since indi­cates there are more than thirty. Three more were pub­lished in Finest Hour 120, Autumn 2003. I am still com­pil­ing and would be inter­ested in receiv­ing a .jpg photo of any print not in these articles.

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