Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Churchill Series – Dec. 11, 2007

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

Two unrelated items today:

Churchill buff and series regular Corwin yesterday reminded me of an extraordinary proposal Britain was prepared to make to France in June 1940.

In an effort to keep France an active belligerent in the was against Nazi Germany, the British government, with Churchill’s strong support, was prepared to propose the two nations merge and become one, with common citizenship for their peoples and a single government.

But before the Brits could make their proposal, France determined on armistice talks.

Nevertheless the background to the proposal and the way in which Britain was prepared to present it are very interesting. I’m going to brush-up on the proposal and present a short (likely two posts) series within the series in the next few days.

The second item is this reminder from the Jackson County Examiner (Jackson County was President Harry Truman’s home county):

A painting by Winston Churchill presented to former President Harry S. Truman's daughter, Margaret Truman Daniel, in 1951, will be sold at Sotheby's Auction House in London Dec. 13.

The painting, titled "Marrakech," is reportedly worth up to $1.03 million.

Ray Geselbracht, special assistant to Truman Presidential Library & Museum Director Michael Devine, said the painting was a personal gift from Churchill presented to Margaret Truman for her father during her trip to England in 1951.Correspondence between Churchill and Truman also suggested the painting was a personal gift to Truman.

"Truman wrote a letter thanking Winston Churchill," Geselbracht said. "The correspondence in that letter suggests the painting was a personal gift. Margaret presented the painting to Truman when she returned home and when he died (in 1972), she took the painting to her home."

According to the Associated Press, a note accompanying the gift quoted Churchill as describing the painting as "about as presentable as anything I can produce."

Truman responded by writing, "I shall treasure the picture as long as I live and it will be one of the most valued possessions I will be able to leave to Margaret when I pass on."
The Examiner story contains a color photo of the painting.

Would you care to guess what it will fetch?

I won’t guess a number but I’ll guess the painting will bring at least $300 thousand more than the $1.03 million pre-auction estimate.

We’ll all know in a few days.