“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Like Old Family Portraits in the Flea Market

Marrakech, Morocco by Winston Churchill
given to Harry Truman in 1951.

From the Associated Press:

LONDON — A painting by Winston Churchill, which President Truman called one of his "most valued possessions" after receiving it as a gift from the British prime minister in 1951, will be sold at Sotheby's, the auction house said Saturday.

Churchill, a respected amateur artist, painted "Marrakech" in about 1948 during one of his frequent trips to Morocco. It shows one of the city's gates against the backdrop of the Atlas mountains.

In a note accompanying the gift, Churchill described the painting, now valued at up to $1.03 million, as "about as presentable as anything I can produce."

Truman wrote in response: "I shall treasure the picture as long as I live and it will be one of the most valued possessions I will be able to leave to (daughter) Margaret when I pass on."

The painting has remained in Truman's family since he died in 1972, and is being sold by his daughter, Margaret Truman Daniel. It will be auctioned Dec. 13 at Sotheby's in London.

Churchill's paintings, mostly English countryside scenes and other landscapes done in oil, have recently attracted substantial prices at auction.

In July, his painting "Chartwell Landscape with Sheep," was sold by Sotheby's for $2.06 million, a record for the artist. In December, another Moroccan landscape, "View of Tinherir," a gift from Churchill to U.S. Gen. George C. Marshall, was bought for more than $1.23 million.

Francis Christie, a specialist in 20th-century art at Sotheby's, said "Marrakech" was "a superb example of Churchill at his very best."

We live our lives gathering little treasures along the way and when we're gone, their intrinsic meanings and values die with us and our treasures wind up in flea markets.


  1. Hogwash!
    The Treasures of the EB are Timeless, and will live forever!
    3 Beers for the EB!

  2. I'll bet she SOUNDS better than the Hillimonster too!
    ...although probably lacks the endearing screech, squawk, and cackle.

  3. If Bill Clinton was still President I bet he'd be thinking of doing a few overnight state visits to Argentina.