Winston Churchill ’s Scene at Marrakech , circa 1935, will be auctioned for the first time next March via Christie’s London, with an estimated value of between £300,000 (about US$404,000) and £500,000.
Inspired by the warmth and quality of light of the city of Marrakech, Morocco, which Churchill visited for the first time in 1935, the painting depicts the warm desert in contrast with blue steam and greens of vegetation.
Churchill, who served as prime minister of the U.K. from 1940 to 1945, and again from 1951 to 1955, was an accomplished amateur artist. He completed hundreds of paintings throughout his life.
In the 1950s, Churchill gifted Scene at Marrakech to field marshal Bernard Law Montgomery , who played a vital role in the retreat from the battle of Dunkirk, which saved many allied lives during World War II. Montgomery was also instrumental in the tactics that delivered an eventual victory for the allied forces in 1945.
“An accomplished artist as well as a celebrated political figure, the work stands among the best paintings executed by Churchill in the 1930s,” Nick Orchard , head modern British art at Christie’s, said in a statement. The gift “symbolizes the deep respect and friendship the Prime Minister held for his general.”
The painting has remained in the Montgomery family since. It is being offered for sale for the first time as a highlight of Christie's modern British art evening sale on March 1, 2021.
The painting will be available for public viewing in February at Christie’s London galleries.