Christie's employees adjust an oil on canvas Painting by Sir Winston Churchill painted. AP
Gulf Today Report
A painting of Marrakesh by Britain's famed wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill, owned by Hollywood star Angelina Jolie, smashed expectations to sell for £7 million ($9.75 million) at auction in London on Monday.
Churchill, a keen artist, took inspiration from the Moroccan city and painted "The Tower of the Koutoubia Mosque" oil work during a World War II visit in 1943.
He gave the finished article to fellow wartime leader, US president Franklin Roosevelt.
Auction house Christie's called it "Churchill's most important work," according to AFP.
"Aside from its distinguished provenance, it is the only landscape he made" during the war, it added.
The work eventually found its way into the hands of actress Angelina Jolie, who recently put it up for sale.
After frenzied bidding, much of it carried out over the phone, the gavel eventually came down at £7 million, smashing the pre-sale expectations of £1.5 to £2.5 million.
Two more of his paintings also went under the hammer, with the three works together fetching £9.43 million.
A career army officer before entering politics, Churchill started to paint relatively late, at the age of 40.
His passion for the translucent light of Marrakesh, far from the political storms and drab skies of London, dates back to the 1930s when most of Morocco was a French protectorate.
He went on to make six visits to the North African country over the course of 23 years.
"Here in these spacious palm groves rising from the desert the traveller can be sure of perennial sunshine... and can contemplate with ceaseless satisfaction the stately and snow-clad panorama of the Atlas Mountains," he wrote in 1936 in Britain's Daily Mail newspaper.
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