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Last Updated: Monday, 11 December 2006, 15:48 GMT
New record for Churchill painting
View of Tinherir painting by Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Churchill painted for relaxation
A recently discovered painting by wartime prime minister Sir Winston Churchill, entitled View of Tinherir, has been sold for 612,800 at auction.

The oil picture, which was painted in 1951 while Churchill was in Morocco, was expected to fetch about 250,000.

It was sold at Sotheby's by Kitty Winn, granddaughter of US General George Marshall, to whom Churchill gave the painting as a gift in 1953.

The price tag is a record for an artwork by the former prime minister.

War memoirs

A Sotheby's spokesman said the next most expensive Churchill painting sold was On The Rance, Near St Malo, which fetched 344,000 at auction last year.

"It's quite a rare event for something like this to just pop up out of the blue," said Sarah Thomas of Sotheby's.

"With such an amazing provenance - it was given to one of the most historic families - it's all the more remarkable that it was missed," she added.

Churchill visited Marrakech in Morocco frequently to compose his war memoirs and to paint.

It is in Morocco in 1943 that Churchill first met General Marshall, who was US President Franklin Roosevelt's army chief of staff during World War II.

'Therapeutic act'

Churchill came to revere the general as "the last great American" and he promised one day to pay tribute to his work training the US forces.

Ms Thomas said: "Churchill took up painting very late. He saw it as a hobby, he didn't see himself as a professional painter. It was something that he really loved doing.

"Most importantly, he found relief from all the pressures of his work in his painting. It was quite a therapeutic act. He would paint while mulling over speeches and decisions.

"His work does vary in quality, everyone would acknowledge that. A lot of his paintings are pretty poor and amateur and full of splodges.

"But over the years he learnt quite a lot from his artist friends. In his later work you can see that."

Two paintings by Churchill were recently sold for more than 300,000 each at auction.

Churchill care notes fetch 9,000
16 Nov 06 |  England
Auction of 'Hitler' watercolours
26 Sep 06 |  Cornwall
Churchill's cigar auctioned off
15 Jun 06 |  Cornwall
Churchill model fetches 20,000
19 May 06 |  Gloucestershire


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