Showing posts with label Winston Churchill. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Winston Churchill. Show all posts

Sunday 14 December 2014

Frank Bellamy and Winston Churchill's copy of "The Happy Warrior"

Frank Bellamy's art for "The Happy Warrior"
David Slinn let me know that Churchill's own copy of the leather bound "Happy Warrior" strip is up for sale in the latest Sotheby's auction : Daughter of History: Mary Soames and the Legacy of Churchill 17 December 2014 | 2:00 PM GMT | London

Sotheby’s is proud to offer items from the collection of the late Mary Soames, Winston Churchill’s last surviving child. The sale will include many of the personal possessions that surrounded Lady Soames in her delightful and very personal home in Holland Park. Together, they chart Mary Soames’ fascinating life – from her childhood in Chartwell to her service in the army during World World II and her later public life. The collection chronicles the remarkable relationship Mary enjoyed with her father, allowing for a unique and very moving insight into the private side of Britain’s greatest war-time leader. At the same time, Churchill’s exceptional ability as a painter, extraordinary for an amateur, will be celebrated in the sale through a group of 15 paintings which together represent the most important and personal group of paintings by him ever to come to the market.

Lot #109 states

with a description:

FIRST EDITION, 4to, 48 pages of coloured picture-strip illustrations by Frank Bellamy on thick paper, plain photographic illustrations of Churchill, red leather gilt binding, silk endpapers, gilt edges

The estimate is listed at £500 - £900. This is such a unique item I have no idea how much it could go for. Bellamy himself said in the Skinn/Gibbons interview that three leather-bound copies of “The Happy Warrior” were presented to Sir Winston Churchill, to Clifford Makins, the author and the third to Frank himself.I have never seen any of them and believe Nancy sold her copy at Sothebys circa 1997.

Episode 11 of "The Happy Warrior"
It's a coincidence as I visited Churchill College, Cambridge recently (who have a Churchill Archive) and enquired regarding this item in Churchill's collection.

Dear Norman, 
I'm afraid I have also been unable to find anything relating to this matter in our archives. I have run searches similar to the ones you made, including for 'Happy Warrior' and have looked through the relevant Gifts files. 

I have looked in the relevant section of Martin Gilbert's biography of Churchill but couldn't find any reference to the comic or the leather-bound copy. 

Churchill did not keep a personal diary. 

I would recommend you contact the team at Chartwell, [email protected], to see if it is in Churchill's surviving library there. 

I'm sorry I could not be of any more help on this occasion, but if you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to contact us. 

Kind regards, 

Gemma Cook, Archives Assistant, Churchill Archives Centre Churchill College Cambridge CB3 0DS 

Episode #31 of "The Happy Warrior"

I wrote to Chartwell but received no reply and assumed it was another dead end.  But here we now have a copy for sale! Does anyone know what happened to Clifford Makin's copy or indeed the Bellamy copy?

UPDATE: I have been told that the whereabouts of another copy - presumed to be Bellamy's is known


  • WHERE?: Sotheby - Daughter of History: Mary Soames and the Legacy of Churchill
  • SELLER:  [Lot # 109]
  • STARTING BID:£500-£900
  • ENDING PRICE: £3,750  (Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium)
  • END DATE: DECEMBER 17th 2014
  • No of bids:Unknown

Sunday 6 April 2014

Frank Bellamy and High Command

An email on a mailing list made me have a look at my copies of High Command published by Dragon's Dream.

High Command - Art by Frank Bellamy

Dragon's Dream, the publisher, was founded by Roger Dean (the artist behind, too many to mention, album covers and many wonderfully strange landscapes - my favourites were the Greenslade covers). Dean's website contains his biography as well as some dazzling artwork. The history of Dragon's Dream is explained here:
"Dragon's Dream, a specialist publishing house devoted primarily to UK fantasy illustrators founded by Dean and his brother Martyn Dean; it also published under the Paper Tiger imprint. The brothers later sold the company, but remained involved in its productions." from SFE, the Encyclopedia of Science-Fiction

One date given for Dean's 'selling' is 1981 which coincidentally is the date this book was published. I own both a hardback with publishing credits in Hendrik-Ido-Ambacht (south-east of Rotterdam) and a paperback.

The paperback has no publisher on the title page, but mentions the Dragon's Dream Book was distributed by WHS Distributors. Could this mean W H Smith, the UK newsagent, had an arrangement with the company for a quantity which it sold in its chain of shops? This sort of co-publishing was not unusual in the 1980s when I was a bookseller. It made for a cheaper print run knowing a certain quantity of sales could be guaranteed (into Smith's bookshops). 
I have also found a Dutch version on the Internet but don't know any more than that. the title has been half translated. I presume editing all the captions and word balloons would have been too prohibitive, but if anyone in the Netherlands can tell me if the comics in this were in English or Dutch I'd be grateful.

UPDATE (08 April 2014) John Wigmans (who helped me with the article on Bellamy and Basil Reynolds' work for Disney), has pointed out that auction sites in the Netherlands have often got copies for sale and that the interior was indeed completely re-lettered inside.
Dutch edition: Der verhalen van Sir Winston Churchill
en General Montgomery

An interior page of the Dutch version (taken from an auction site)

For your pleasure I have reproduced below some example artwork

Robert Fitzgerald's introduction

Churchill introduction (by Fitzgerald?)

Interestingly this last episode of the original printing in the Eagle comic (seen below) was never included in the hardback reprint by Hulton in 1958 when the series ended nor here in the Dragon's Dream production.
The missing portrait

The portrait could have gone here!

Field Marshall Montgomery introduction (by Fitzgerald?)

Editors who gave Bellamy the centrespread of their comics were wise people. His complete ownership of the double page is demonstrated nowhere better in my opinion than here (well, maybe in the Heros The Spartan story!). The original series were published in Eagle:

EAGLE Vol. 8:40 - 8:52, 9:1 - 9:36. (04/10/57 -28/12/57, 3/1/58 - 6/9/58) "The Happy Warrior" by Clifford Makins
EAGLE Vol. 13:10 - 13:27 (10/03/62 -07/07/62) "Montgomery of Alamein" by Clifford Makins

Sunday 12 January 2014

Frank Bellamy and Winston Churchill reprint

The Happy Warrior: The Life Story of Sir Winston Churchill as Told Through the Eagle Comic of the 1950's (Eagle Comics) is due to be published in March/April by Unicorn Press

Paperback published by Unicorn Press
I previously wrote about the hardback American edition. David Britton, a great supporter of the Eagle Society, let me know he bought a copy of the American edition.

"The original [reprint in 1958 published shortly after the original series finished] had 64 pages with black & white photographs, which apart from the final page, only deals with Churchill. 
There is a lot more about Eagle in this version than in earlier versions. It is about 100 pages long, has the preface by the publishers "The Eagle That Dared", a slight pun, as it makes significant references to Dan Dare and presents the cover of the copy of Eagle when the story started and appears to have been written by Colin Frewin. It covers the origins and history of Eagle over 8 pages. Then the article by Richard M. Langworth (14 pages) "The Lion Still Roars" is a synopsis of Churchill's life followed by the strip, broken up into sections. Finally there is the epilogue and bibliography under "Why the Happy Warrior?". Overall it is a much more sophisticated book than the earlier [1958] version, perhaps to appeal to a wider and possibly an adult American audience."

To read a bit more go to the Unicorn Press site  - Amazon states it's a paperback of 96 pages so it does look similar (23.5 x 19 x 0.8 cm)
Let's hope they haven't made the same mistake that the 1981 reprint "High Command" and the 1958 reprint did, of omitting the final portrait that appeared in Eagle Vol 9:36 (6 September 1958)!

Thanks to Lew Stringer and John Freeman for spotting this and David for his permission to use his information 

Sunday 24 June 2007

WEBLINK: "Happy Warrior" story

Run, do not walk, to ComicsUK and click on the Daily Page link on the opening page for a page-by-page reprint of, what some consider Bellamy's finest strip, The Happy Warrior.

Bellamy said he was intimidated by this commission as this was the first time the back page of Eagle was taken up with a living person's biography and the subject, Winston Churchill, would approve pages before publication. If you follow the strip day by day, as Alan Notton, the site's creator/moderator intends. you will see Bellamy start out in standrad panel formats, but later experiment with the panels style he later was loved and remembered for.