Winston Churchill Bust


Laurel King, Contributor

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winston churchill bustAs befitting such a great leader, politician, writer, and orator, there is a Winston Churchill statute in Parliament Square, London, England. This bronze sculpture was created by Ivor Roberts-Jones, and unveiled by Churchill's wife – Lady Clementine Spencer-Churchill – on November 1, 1973.

The bronze statue of Winston Churchill is 12 feet high, showing him standing while resting his hand on a walking stick, dressed in a military greatcoat. On the plinth – which itself is 8 feet high – there is an inscription of "Churchill" in capital letters. During the creation of the sculpture, there was, evidently, some concern that it too closely resembled the Italian Fascist leader, Benito Mussolini. To correct the problem, the sculptor (Mr. Roberts-Jones) finally agreed to reduce the dome-shape of the head, so the forehead would be lowered, resulting in a more 'Churchill' appearance.

Incidentally, Churchill himself was a part of the planning for his own statue, back in the 1950s. The Minister of Works at the time – David Eccles – showed Winston his plans to redevelop Parliament Square. In response, Churchill drew a large circle in the northeast corner, saying, "That is where my statue will go." As always, he was correct; the statue is located in the precise location where he drew that circle, two decades before it was installed. The cost of the statue was approximately £30,000.

At the unveiling of the statue, Queen Elizabeth II was in attendance, but left the unveiling itself to Churchill's widow, because she felt it was 'right' that she should do so. However, the Queen did give a speech at the ceremony, telling a story about Churchill turning down the offer of a dukedom so that he could spend his final years in the place he adored – the House of Commons. The statue was grade II listed in 2008, a designation indicating historical significance. There are numerous replicas of the statue in Oslo, Norway (on Solli plass in the "English Quarter"); Canberra, Australia (at Australian National University); in both Halifax and Toronto, Canada; and in Prague, Czech Republic (outside the University of Economics, in Winston Churchill Square).

In 2012, there was a swirling controversy about whether or not the bust of Winston Churchill had been removed from its location in the White House, and returned to England. Evidently, there were (at one time) two bronze busts of Churchill, both sculpted by the artist Sir Jacob Epstein. In 2001, one of the busts was loaned to the George W. Bush administration; this was returned after he left office, and can now be found in the British ambassador's residence (in Washington D.C.) The second of the two busts – part of the White House's art collection – never left. Although it was moved – to a hallway located outside the Treat Room, where the president's residence is – it was never sent back to England, as the urban myth would have the public believe. Having never left its rightful place (in the White House), it's safe to say that the bronze Winston Churchill bust is right where it belongs.