Sarah Churchill – Curtis Hooper Prints

by Richard 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, but I have talked to Mr. Hooper 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 in pencil by Sarah Churchill and Curtis Hooper (the latter in addition to his printed signature on the lithograph). Each was numbered, and presented with a debossed coat of arms and Churchill 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 from “Robert”).

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. According to Curtis Hooper, the large-format versions can be identified by the presence of his signature along with Sarah’s. 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.

I once published what we then believed to be a complete collection of sixteen prints, donated to Hillsdale College by the Churchill scholar Harry V. Jaffa. Information received since indicates there are more than thirty.

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

SK May 24, 2015 at 23:51

What a shame! I bought the exact one featured in this article with the boy sitting and churchill’s face…from an “estate” in Beverly Hills. Only signed by “Sarah Churchill”. Ugh!

Richard M. Langworth October 26, 2014 at 07:49

I’ve had a similar conversation with Mr. Hooper and believe he’s right.

Robert September 13, 2014 at 17:09

I am afraid that many people, myself included, have forgeries. I have exchanged correspondence on several occasions with Mr. Hooper. He assures me that ALL of the genuine Churchill Lithographs are hand-signed by him and Sarah Churchill in pencil . He even described the logistical process to me. That means that almost ALL of the prints for sale on-line now are fakes. Mr. Hooper told me that he rarely hears questions about authenticity from dealers because “they do not want to know.” The reason the crooks did not try to fake Hooper’s signature is that there is the authentic plate signature also on the lithograph. It is harder to pass off a forgery as real with the genuine signature is on the same print. I mentioned the incredible quality of the embossed images and he commented it was “easy to create reproductions” when you don’t have to pay royalties or any fees whatsoever. In fact, other than his own copies, he did not even know a gallery where one could be guaranteed to find the genuine article!

Davi- August 24, 2014 at 11:26

I have a signed print of Sarah Chruchill (pencil) and Hooper…The print is Winston looking down on a child from the clouds with the atom bomb explosion to the right of him. It is numbered 137/400. Is it possible this is a forgery?

Kevan June 29, 2014 at 12:45

I have an embossed print of Churchill showing his victory sign signed by Curtis Hooper embossed Sarah signature also signed in pencil with embossed houses of parliament and embossed ‘We will never forget your endeavours’ but not numbered. any thoughts?

Richard M. Langworth March 19, 2013 at 21:25

I doubt it, but I do not have the expertise to offer any judgment.

Billie Brown March 19, 2013 at 19:30

I recently was given a large format of FDR and Churchill. It is signed in pencil by Sarah Churchill as in all the others I have seen. It is not numbered but the embossed picture is of Churchill and the Victory Sign….with Sarah’s name again embossed there as the others. There is no Curtis Hooper signature and it is not the $2900 one on ebay with the memorial embossing to FDR.
In my amateur opinion….could it be that Sarah did this one and only this one, so it is not numbered, and let the same picture be used by Hooper later for when FDR died, as the embossing on that one is of a cross etc and is numbered in pencil by Sarah?

Wackiforkhaki January 2, 2012 at 22:09

I have ” We will never never give in” Image of Winston he is wearing overcoat and military hat. Includes a embosed image of british troops in North Africa and Churchill coat of arms. Sarah Churchill pencil signature and includes a reference to both she and Hooper written in pencil at bottom. 285 of 300. My freind found this in the garage of his deceasded father in-law, not sure of history.

Justin September 2, 2011 at 17:23

I have a friend who has a large collection of these pieces in his basement. They are signed by Curtis Hooper, sealed by Sarah Churchill, and embossed. I am current helping him get these works out of his basement and into a gallery. I would greatly appreciate more information about these works. Great article.

Please feel free to contact me if you wish to talk more. I apologize for not having a jpeg but I can show you a video if you wish to contact me.
jmerk_7@hotmail.com

Bob Bennett June 12, 2011 at 08:37

The two most famous of the issue, especially to Americans, was “Friends” and “Honorary Citizenship,” respectively picturing FDR and Churchill at Yalta and Churchill and JFK. These two are probably the most collectable. I was given a value of $3000 (framed) back in 1993 by Sotheby’s, New York, especially with all the documents because many prints do not have them. I even have the documents stating that the original plates were destroyed back in 1972. Sarah died in 1982.

Richard M. Langworth May 20, 2011 at 08:18

I have no appraisal expertise and recommend you see what the prints are selling for on eBay, or contact Mark Weber, the Churchill Book Specialist, who has probably handled several of them: mark@wscbooks.com. You may wish to insure such material for a higher value, to allow for inflation increases.

Dean Gordin May 19, 2011 at 18:23

I have number 5/350 of the Curtis Hooper print called “Friends” of
FDR & Churchill, signed by Sarah Churchill and Curtis Hooper. It is a
powerful image and historically significant, in my opinion.
Am wondering as to the realistic value of this item for insurance purposes.

Bob Bennett April 26, 2011 at 16:24

I have a print called “FRIENDS” and is numbered 316/350 along with all the documents (COA’s). It is a drawing of FDR and Churchill at their meetring at Malta during the War. FDR is sitting in his wheel chair with Churchill standing to the back of the chair with his famous cigar in his mouth. The quotation reads “I WAS OVERPOWERED BY A SENSE OF DEEP AND IRREPARABLE LOSS”. Also the Churchill Coat of Arms in the lower left hand corner and a cross of the unknown soldier that reads “”And so were we” with Sarah Churchill’s signature under the drawing on the right side. It also has Curtis Hoopers signature at the base of the drawing. It is custom framed and flawless. I’ve owned it since 1993.

MJ Laundis May 29, 2009 at 12:01

I have one of the larger size prints with a drawing of Churchill reading a newspaper on a park bench. The quote is “I shall keep you informed.” It is numbered 10/300 (not 400). In addition to the debossed Churchill coat of arms and quotation, in the lower left corner there is a debossed “drawing” of Churchill with 4 roses to his right arm, and Sarah’s debossed signature under his left arm.

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