Sir William Nicholson (1872-1949), Study for Breakfast at Chartwell II, Sir Winston Churchill and Clementine Ogilvy Hozier, Lady Churchill, in the Dining Room at Chartwell, with their cat, Tango, The National Trust
I had an unashamedly teary afternoon yesterday watching Richard Attenborough's poignant film, Young Winston, (1972). It's shown in an edited version on minor television channels from time to time, which is a pity- as it is a marvellous film. Terrific (no, outstanding performances) from Anne Bancroft as Jennie Churchill and Robert Shaw as Lord Randolph. Simon Ward's also superb as the young thruster, and there's lots of Elgar.
Which reminded me of Sir William Nicholson's charming Study for Breakfast at Chartwell, painted just before the outbreak of the Second World War, at the time of Churchill's Wilderness Years. Those of you who have visited Chartwell will probably recognise the rather stylish 1930's dining room. Their little marmalade cat, Tango, is sitting on the table next to Clemmie. I was pleased to see this, as this is just the sort of behaviour we get from our beloved, but utterly pesky, Burmese brown, Oskie.
I'm firmly of the opinion that a proper English Breakfast is one of our greatest contributions to civilisation. Taken sitting at a shiny mahogany table; with the bright morning light streaming in through the windows, bouncing off the polished silver. Starched white linen napkins, silver toast racks, little pots for the hot, tangy English mustard. Chafing dishes on the sideboard. Kedgeree, kippers, grilled sausages, devilled kidneys, toast, Seville orange marmalade, grilled bacon, grilled tomatoes, eggs both poached and scrambled, smoked haddock, porridge, Earl Grey tea, black coffee.