Regarding Leon Saryan's question about whether the portrait of Churchill on the new Bank of England banknote was based on "the
photograph of Churchill taken by the Canadian Armenian photographer Yousuf Karsh on Dec. 30, 1941." Jim Duncan of New Zealand
I can't swear that it's the same, but it certainly looks similar. Karsh wanted to get a view of Churchill's pugnacity, so
he snatched the cigar out of Churchill's mouth - and snap! The fighter he wanted was revealed.
Harry Cabluck writes:
Perhaps others have responded to the similarity. But few would say, "Close, but no cigar."
Well, Churchill has no cigar in these portraits (see why below), but their similarity is unquestionable. I cropped the images Harry sent
so we can all see these portraits side-by-side. Harry also provided the following excerpt from the Iconic Photos blog. -Editor
Karsh asked Churchill to remove the cigar in his mouth, but Churchill refused. Karsh walked up to Churchill supposedly to get a light
level and casually pulled the signature cigar from the lips of Churchill and walked back toward his camera. As he walked he clicked his
camera remote, capturing the ‘determined’ look on Churchill’s face, which was in fact a reflection of his indignantcy.
Karsh recounted: “I stepped toward him and without premeditation, but ever so respectfully, I said, ‘Forgive me, Sir’ and plucked the
cigar out of his mouth. By the time I got back to my camera, he looked so belligerent he could have devoured me. It was at that instant I
took the photograph. The silence was deafening. Then Mr Churchill, smiling benignly, said, ‘You may take another one.’ He walked toward
me, shook my hand and said, ‘You can even make a roaring lion stand still to be photographed.'”
The next photo Karsh took, where Churchill was smiling, was less memorable...
To read the complete article, see:
Winston Churchill by Yousef Karsh
Joe Esposito writes:
The Bank of England confirms that the new five-pound Churchill note is from the famous Karsh photograph of the statesman. The
photograph is known by Churchillians as the “Roaring Lion.” The photo shoot, which was in Ottawa, was quite amusing. [Joe also referenced
the Iconic Photos article, above.]
Great care was put into the overall symbolism of the polymer note. A Bank statement highlights another part of what it calls the “New
Fiver”: “The image of the Elizabeth Tower with the hands of the Great Clock at 3 o’clock – the approximate time on 13 May 1940 when Sir
Winston Churchill declared in a speech to the House of Commons: ‘I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.’ This
declaration is quoted beneath the portrait.”
A BBC website comments on the Churchill portrait: “He is the only politician from the modern era to feature on a [British] banknote.”
Perhaps this is not surprising: A poll done by the BBC in 2002 ranked the one hundred most prominent Britons of all time; Churchill was
first. The next four in order were Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Princess Diana, Charles Darwin and William Shakespeare.
It is surprising that Brunel, who is largely unknown in the United States, was number two. Brunel was a great engineer, whose work
included the Thames River Tunnel. When completed in 1843, the tunnel was hailed as a marvel, and a number of medals were struck to
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
WAS CHURCHILL BANKNOTE MODELED ON KARSH PHOTO?
Thanks, everyone. Karsh's photos have inspired other numismatic designs. Here are some earlier E-Sylum articles on the topic.
YOUSUF KARSH AND THE "DEVIL'S HEAD" PHOTO OF ELIZABETH II
ROYAL MINT UNVEILS £20 WINSTON CHURCHILL COIN
BANK OF CANADA ISSUES ELIZABETH COMMEMORATIVE
Wayne Homren, Editor
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