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Clementine Churchill: Speaking for Herself

to 18th February
Time / Prices: 11am - 3pm / £7.50

Chartwell in Kent is set to open a new exhibition this month. Clementine Churchill: Speaking for Herself, focuses on the extraordinary life of Sir Winston Churchill’s beloved wife Clementine.

The exhibition at the National Trust property features items that have never been on public display before, including treasured childhood photographs and a portrait by Paul Maze, the last of the Post Impressionists.

Clementine was Winston’s devoted wife for more than 56 years, and mother to the couple’s five children. The exhibition is made all the more poignant as it opens in the approach to the fortieth anniversary of her death.

Displays will feature over sixty objects, from personal mementoes such as her photos and private letters, along with several gifts that she received from family, friends and political contacts.

The exhibition also paints a picture of Clementine and Winston's enduring relationship. Read a heartfelt letter from Clementine to Winston the morning after their engagement, and see her beautiful ruby engagement ring.

Katherine Carter, National Trust curator at Chartwell says, “We’re very excited to be able to bring Clementine’s story to the fore this winter. She was a truly remarkable woman, who has all too often been overlooked in the history of the twentieth century.”

Key themes of the exhibition are:

  • Early Influences –discover Clementine’s aristocratic family and her upbringing. Her parents separated, and her mother Blanche left to care for the children. Financial difficulty and family instability saw Clementine later refer to hers as a “very difficult childhood”.
  • Interests – as an active sportswoman, Clementine loved horse riding, swimming, golf and skiing. Her tennis was of tournament class. The only game that Winston and Clementine played together however was croquet.
  • Love – Clementine wrote of her marriage, “I cannot describe my happiness to you…I cared very much for him when he asked me to marry him, but every day since has been more heavenly.”
  • Duty – from the outset of their marriage, Clementine undertook all duties common to MP’s wives at that time. She played political hostess, fulfilled a constituency role and supported Winston in his election campaigns.
  • Chartwell – initially Clementine liked Chartwell. She decorated the rooms, turning Chartwell into a comfortable family home. Later though, she became concerned about the costs in light of their financial struggles

Katherine continues, “It’s been wonderful to look in detail at her treasured possessions and objects that represent her extraordinary life. We’re especially excited to be bringing some objects out on display for the first time.”

Clementine Churchill: Speaking for Herself  is open daily from 18 November to 18 February 2018, 11am–3pm (closed 24 & 25 December). Please note the house is closed for winter. National Trust members receive free entry. Adult entry to gardens, studio & exhibition £7.50. For more information visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/chartwell or telephone 01732 868381.

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