Winston Churchill's Emerald Lake painting sells for roughly $70K more than estimate

A damaged, mislabelled painting of Emerald Lake done by former British prime minister Winston Churchill has sold at auction for more than six times its estimated value.

Auction house expected to bring in up to $14,698, but it just sold for $87,267

This painting hit the Sotheby’s auction block on Tuesday, selling for $87,267. The London auction house had estimated the value between $11,023 and $14,698. (Sotheby’s)

A damaged, mislabelled painting of Emerald Lake done by former British prime minister Winston Churchill has sold at auction for more than six times its estimated value.

Churchill painted the majestic lake near Field, B.C., when he visited the Canadian Rockies in 1929. However, the words "Lake Louise Canada" incorrectly appear on the bottom left of the artwork.

The painting hit Sotheby's auction block Tuesday in London, and sold for £47,500, or $87,267 Cdn (based on Sotheby's exchange rate of 1.8372). The auction house had estimated the value between $11,023 and $14,698.

A Calgary historian — who correctly predicted it would sell for far more than the estimate — wasn't surprised.

"It's an interesting number," David Finch told CBC News on Tuesday.

"Yes, it is damaged, but hey, it's the real guy, it's the real thing. It would be a great talking piece in your multimillion-dollar chateau out on a lake somewhere."

Finch said painting was just one of Churchill's passions.

Calgary historian David Finch was not surprised the painting sold for a lot more than its estimated value. (David Bell/CBC)

"He painted almost 600 paintings in his 20 years as a painter and I would credit most of the value of it to the renewed interest in the man."

Churchill had given the painting to one of his bodyguards, Edmund Murray, and it was one of Murray's relatives who put it up for sale.

Finch says the former prime minister was captured by the beauty of the region.

"Churchill wrote back to his wife and said, 'I want to bring you to Canada for many reasons but in particular to Lake Emerald because it's so beautiful here.'"

On the left: Winston Churchill's 1929 'Lake Louise Canada' painting. On the right: a Glenbow Archives photo of Emerald Lake in the 1920s. (Sotheby’s/Glenbow Archives)

Corrections

  • A earlier headline for this story said the painting sold for $50,000 more than initial estimates.
    Mar 20, 2018 5:46 PM MT