Alas the famous exchange between Churchill and George Bernard Shaw is fiction.
According to the usually reliable Kay Halle, in her quotations book Irrepressible Churchill (Cleveland: World, 1966, page 116), Shaw wrote to Churchill in 1924: “Am reserving two tickets for you for my premiere. Come and bring a friend—if you have one.”
Churchill, Halle says, replied: “Impossible to be present for the first performance. Will attend the second—if there is one.” Finest Hour editor Dalton Newfield explained in the 1970s that the play in question was Shaw’s “St.…
Can you please tell me who the artist is who created the lovely image of Winston Churchill on your book Churchill by Himself? —M.D., London
With pleasure. He is Richard Deane Taylor, who painted the original for a Collier’s cover in 1951 after Churchill had returned to Downing Street following the General Election. Click here for his virtual gallery.
Mr. Taylor, who died a few years ago, gave permission to use it on the jacket of the British edition of Churchill by Himself, which came to pass.
Unfortunately, while the publishers did make good efforts to lighten his eyes (which in life were very light blue), they cropped the top of WSC’s head, incurring the ire of Lady Soames and this writer, and somewhat spoiling the effect, although they have promised to fix this in the second edition—”if there is one.”…