Chartwell is situated on an 82-acre estate and set in a shallow-sided valley commanding extraordinary panoramic views across the Weald of Kent towards Hever Castle. It was the home and retreat from the pressures of political life for Sir Winston Churchill (1874–1965), his wife Clementine ‘Clemmie’ Hozier (1885–1977), and their family, from 1922 until his death.
When finances became tight a group of Churchill’s close friends gave Chartwell to the National Trust in 1946 so that the nation should own it in perpetuity. Churchill drew solace from the landscape, which was to inspire some of his own ‘little daubs’, executed in his refuge, the Studio. He painted during the First World War, and continued under the direction of Sir John Lavery, with whom he swapped self portraits, and was influenced by Sargent and Sickert. The walls of the Studio are now hung with his unframed canvases which dominate the whole collection, many of which were bequeathed by Clemmie and a third of which are on loan from members of the family. A notable exception and highlight is Claude Monet’s ‘Pont de Londres (Charing Cross Bridge, London)’, a gift to him from Emery Reeves (Imre Révész) (1904–1981), Churchill’s Hungarian-born literary agent in America.