Sir Winston Churchill – Behind the Painting
In 1971 John Chancellor was skippering his survey vessel ‘EXACT’ and occasionally painting local trawlers as commissions when he decided to embark on two paintings, entirely for his own satisfaction. The paintings were of the sail training ship Royalist, and the painting you see here of the two sail training ships, Sir Winston Churchill in the foreground and the Malcolm Miller astern of her.
It was the very enthusiastic response to this fine painting which persuaded John Chancellor to finally swallow the anchor and start painting for his hugely successful first exhibition in 1973.
Unlike the later work no detailed notes about the research for the painting are available although John Chancellor did record the fact that it was an imaginary setting somewhere in the Channel approaches. Thus he set the standard for many of his major works which were to follow, totally convincing sea and weather conditions painted with authority and conviction.
Both ships are 300-ton three-masted topsail schooners, and have gaff and topsails on the fore and main masts and a Bermudian mizen, as well as square sails on the fore, and the tops of their main masts are 115 feet above the water line.
In the painting the Sir Winston Churchill is shown in the foreground. She was completed in 1966. The Malcolm Miller is named after the son of Sir James Miller, a former Lord Mayor of London and Lord Provost of Edinburgh whose family donated half the building costs. She was commissioned in October 1967.