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Episode 9 of 10

Sir David Cannadine explores painting, the hobby that meant most to Churchill, and how it helped to keep the 'black dog' of depression at bay.

Winston Churchill was revered by millions as the saviour of Britain in the Second World War, but he wasn't just a great war leader - he wrote millions of words of journalism, he painted, he built brick walls, he owned racehorses, he gambled in Monte Carlo casinos and even wrote screenplays. Yet his personality was mercurial; bouts of hyper-activity were interspersed with black days of depression. While he had a loving marriage, he spent long periods apart from his wife and children, some of whom caused him deep anxiety and distress.

To mark the fiftieth anniversary of his death, celebrated historian Sir David Cannadine, author of In Churchill's Shadow, examines the life and career of Winston Churchill by looking at ten different themes that are less well known, but which are crucial to a fuller understanding of one of the most extraordinary individuals ever to occupy No. 10 Downing Street.

Despite not taking up painting until he was 40, Winston Churchill produced more than 500 canvasses in his lifetime and became an honorary member of the Royal Academy. His show there in 1959 outsold every previous exhibition except one dedicated to Leonardo da Vinci. So why was painting such an important part of Churchill's life? Sir David Cannadine explores the hobby that meant most to Churchill and how it helped to keep what he called the 'black dog' of depression at bay.

Featuring Roger Allam as Winston Churchill.

Producer: Melissa FitzGerald
A Blakeway production for BBC Radio 4.

15 minutes

Last on

Thu 29 Jan 2015 13:45


Role Contributor
Producer Denys Blakeway


  • Wed 23 Mar 2011 15:45
  • Fri 1 Mar 2013 14:15
  • Wed 25 Jun 2014 14:15
  • Thu 26 Jun 2014 00:15
  • Thu 29 Jan 2015 13:45

Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill

A collection of programmes celebrating the life and achievements of Winston Churchill.