John Spencer-Churchill (artist)

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John Spencer-Churchill
Born(1909-05-31)31 May 1909
Died23 June 1992(1992-06-23) (aged 83)
London, England
Resting placeBladon Churchyard, West Oxfordshire
EducationHarrow School
Alma materPembroke College, Oxford
Angela Culme Seymour
(m. 1934; div. 1938)

Mary Cookson
(m. 1941; div. 1953)

Kathlyn Tandy
(m. 1953; her death 1957)

Lullan Janson Boston
(m. 1958; div. 1972)
Parent(s)John Spencer-Churchill
Lady Gwendoline Theresa Mary Bertie

John George Spencer-Churchill (31 May 1909 in London – 23 June 1992) was an English painter, sculptor and a stockbroker who was the nephew of Sir Winston Churchill.[1]

Early life[edit]

Spencer-Churchill was the son of John Strange Spencer-Churchill (1880–1947) and Lady Gwendoline Theresa Mary Bertie (1885–1941). His sister Clarissa married Anthony Eden in 1952, becoming Lady Eden in 1954 when he was made a Knight of the Garter, wife of the Prime Minister when Winston Churchill retired in 1955, and later the Countess of Avon in 1961 on his elevation to the peerage.[2]

His paternal grandparents were Lord Randolph Churchill, the third son of the 7th Duke of Marlborough, and his wife, Lady Frances Vane, and Lady Randolph Churchill (née Jennie Jerome), an American who was the daughter of Leonard Jerome, one of the richest and most influential men in New York City in the middle to late 19th century, and a frequent business partner of Cornelius Vanderbilt.[3]. Through the Jerome family, he was a cousin of Clare Sheridan, the sculptor.[1] Through his uncle Winston, he was a first cousin of Diana Churchill, Randolph Churchill, Sarah Tuchet-Jesson, Lady Audley, Marigold Churchill, and Mary Soames, Baroness Soames.

His maternal grandparents were Montagu Bertie, 7th Earl of Abingdon and Gwendoline Mary Dormer, the daughter of James Charlemagne Dormer, a British Army officer.


Spencer-Churchill was educated at Harrow School and Pembroke College, Oxford. Following his graduation, he worked for the London stock exchange firm of Vickers da Costa, where his father was a partner.[1]

He was taken under the wing of Sir William Nicholson when he toured Italy aged only twenty-three years. Later he met Bernard Meninsky travelling from Munich to Madrid. He was still there in Malaga during the Spanish Civil War sketching for the Illustrated London News.

He painted for Lady Churchill at Chartwell on many projects, doing murals and friezes that exist today.[4]

He served in the Second World War as a Corps Camouflage Officer, and after returning from Dunkirk, told his uncle personally of the need for small boats to assist in rescuing the troops there. After the war ended, he founded the interior-decorating business George Spencer.[1]

In 1961 he published his memoir, Crowded Canvas.[5] The New York Times described the book as telling the first 50 years of his life, and as for the future, it quoted him stating: "The First Duke of Marlborough was 52 when he fought the Battle of Blenheim. My uncle was 64 when he attained his greatest role. I still have time for the uplands of greater achievement"[5]

Personal life[edit]

On 13 May 1934, he married Angela Mary Culme-Seymour (1912–2012) in Portofino, Italy.[6] She was the daughter of Major George Culme-Seymour, who was killed during the Second Battle of Ypres in 1915, and Janet Beatrix Orr-Ewing, and the granddaughter of Sir Michael Culme-Seymour, 3rd Baronet.[7] The family lived briefly with the Winston Churchills at Chartwell, before returning to Spain but the marriage did not last long, for Angela formed a relationship with a French Count, René de Chatellus.[7] Before their divorce in 1938, they were the parents of:[1]

In 1941, he married Mary Cookson. After that marriage was dissolved in 1953, he married Mrs. Kathlyn Tandy (d. 1957). After his third wife's death in 1957, he married Lullan (née Janson) Boston in 1958. His fourth marriage was dissolved 1972.[1]


Through his daughter Sarah, he was the grandfather of Peregrine John Crewe (b. 1959) Emma Crewe (b. 1963), Annabel Sophia Crewe (b. 1965).[9]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Vickers, Hugo (9 July 1992). "Obituary: John Spencer Churchill". The Independent. Retrieved 8 November 2017.
  2. ^ Freemantle, Anne (January 21, 1962). "Including Uncle Winnie". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 November 2017.
  3. ^ Burrows & Wallace
  4. ^ Frances Spaldinng, '20th Century Painters and Sculptors', Dictionary of British Art, vol.VI, (Antique Collectors Club, 1990)
  5. ^ a b "Books -- Authors". The New York Times. 21 November 1961. Retrieved 8 November 2017.
  6. ^ Bannister, Matthew (12 February 2012). "Angela Culme-Seymour Obituary on BBC Radio 4's Last Word". Retrieved 8 November 2017.
  7. ^ a b "Angela Culme-Seymour". The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group Limited. 3 February 2012. Retrieved 8 November 2017.
  8. ^ "Q.H. CREWE WEDS MARTHA L. SHARP; Couple Attended by Eight at Their Nuptials in Chapel of St. Bartholomew's". The New York Times. 21 April 1956. Retrieved 8 November 2017.
  9. ^ Mosley, editor, Charles (1999). Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 106th edition, 2 volumes. Crans, Switzerland: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd. Retrieved 8 November 2017.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)

External links[edit]