Chartwell Revisited

Published: Monday 31st Oct 2011

Written by: Andrew Woodhouse

When we visited Chartwell for our homeowner lunch I knew my husband would be interested to visit so decided to arrange a family outing at half term before it closes for the winter. It really is worth a second visit - and probably more. I saw many things I had missed first time and was able to enjoy studying some things I had skimmed.

Churchill really was a remarkable man, not just a first class politician and world class statesman, but an artist, a literary giant, a bricklayer, a successful racehorse owner and clearly a wonderful host. I hadn't had a proper look at his Nobel Prize first time around, what a beautiful piece of artwork that is! and there were so many medals, cups and other prizes that showed what an amazing all rounder he was.

The gifts he received are all on display from humble fish hooks to vulgar ashtrays to intricate silver cigarette boxes and all sorts of other offerings. Churchill's children gave their parents a completely marvellous present for their Golden Wedding Anniversary: a golden rose walk (many still in glorious bloom in late October) accompanied by a fabulous book composed of paintings of golden roses by many leading artists of the day.

These included Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell from Charleston and his good friend Sir William Nicholson. n the Studio there were 2 studies of the swimming pool hanging one above the other. One by Winston Churchill and one by William Nicholson. An interesting challenge to spot which is which. We had a great wander round the grounds and then an excellent lunch at Strada in Sevenoaks - we can highly recommend the Pollo Cacciatora on the special lunch menu, brilliant value and absolutely delicious.

Andrew Woodhouse



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