A painter over a politician: Churchill statue to be unveiled on Cap Ferrat

churchill statue

A new statue of Winston Churchill is set to be unveiled in Saint Jean Cap Ferrat. It will celebrate the chameleon of a man, who spent many peaceful times in the south of France.  

Winston Churchill was a complicated man. Gruff, bold, tireless and almost always with a cigar, a whiskey or both, his fearlessness and sheer force of will helped Britain defy the odds and hold back Nazi Germany during the darkest days of World War II.  

A creative side  

Though most think of him as a lifelong politician, he also had an incredible creative side that came out in the form of several books and a vast number of paintings, several of which were made during his time staying with friends on the French Riviera, including in Saint Jean Cap Ferrat at the home of John and Hazel Lavery and in Cap d’Ail at his friend Max Beaverbrook’s villa. He also enjoyed visiting Saint Paul de Vence, Cap Roux, Saint Raphael, Eze and Tourettes-sur-Loup to name a few. 

His afternoons were spent painting; he felt the afternoon light was just right and he liked to take advantage of those golden hours that have enticed many a visitor to the region. 

The Harbour at Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat by Winston Churchill (1921)

After WWII, Churchill was one of the world’s most recognisable characters, making his outings – which often included an entourage of a bodyguard, a driver, a secretary, a valet and a gendarme – more than difficult, but he persisted. 

Calling his work his “little daubs”, Churchill’s skill was far better than he gave himself credit for, and some of his paintings have sold for huge sums, such as The Tower of the Koutoubia Mosque, which was purchased by Angelina Jolie for £7 million in 2021. Two more of Churchill’s paintings also went under the gavel at the same time and the three together brought in £9.43 million. 

Fitting tribute  

Now the International Winston Churchill Society, The Rubin Foundation and CBE Laurence Geller are paying tribute to Churchill in the form of a statue, which will be inaugurated on Friday 16th June on the Quai Lindbergh of Saint Jean Cap Ferrat.  

The event will be preceded by an English-language talk by artist Paul Rafferty entitled “Winston Churchill Paints the Côte d’Azur” at 5pm, followed by the unveiling ceremony at 6.30pm.  

The 2.30-metre statue will hold a place of honour on the quay, a busy place filled with tourists, restaurants and boats coming and going year-round.  


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Photo credit: Saint Jean Cap Ferrat Tourisme / FB