Lot 83 - Winston Churchill personal correspondence

Winston Churchill personal correspondence

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Ended On: 2012-05-24 19:30:00 GMT +1

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A set of seven letters from Sir Winston Churchill to Miss Lobban who cared for Churchill’s pet miniature poodle, Rufus II, at Duke Street Kennels in London

Churchill’s (1874-1965) first miniature poodle, Rufus, was run over and killed while Churchill was attending the Conservative Party Conference in Brighton, England in October 1947. He was later given another miniature poodle by Walter Graebner, his Life magazine editor for his war memoirs. Churchill introduced his new pet saying “His name is Rufus II – but the II is silent.”

Each of these seven letters, written to Miss B. Lobban, mention Rufus the dog. In quarter navy morocco over blue cloth slipcase, spine lettered in compartments, five raised bands: “Winston / S. / Churchill / Letters / to / Miss Lobban / Regarding / ‘Rufus’ / 1948-1961.”

(1) One 7½” x 9½” page typed letter signed “Yours sly. Winston S. Churchill. With Churchill’s address “28, Hyde Park Gate, London” dated “January 25, 1948”. With a file hole in the upper left corner, this letter in is fine condition with its original 5¼” x 4¼” envelope postmarked January 27, 1948, which is torn at the edges. It reads, in full:

“I am so sorry that Rufus has developed this distressing complaint, and I hope you will let me know at the end of the three weeks whether or not he has recovered. After the said loss of the first one, I feel that I would rather not have another dog just now. Please do not therefore look for another poodle for me. I will write to Mr. Graebner about this. I am very grateful to you for the trouble you have taken in looking after Rufus during my absence abroad. Pray let me know what is owing in the way of veterinerary [sic] fees.”

(2) One 4¾” x 7½” page typed letter signed “Winston S. Churchill” as Prime Minister. Addressed “10 Downing Street, Whitehall, December 13, 1953”. In fine condition, the letter is accompanied by its original 5¼” x 4¼” envelope which is postmarked December 14, 1953. It reads, in full:

“Thank you so much for your gift and for remembering my birthday. I was so glad to see Rufus back looking so well and happy.”

(3) One 5” x 8” page letter signed “Winston S. Churchill”. Addressed “Chartwell, Kent, December 4, 1956”. With a file hole in the upper left corner, the letter is in fine condition and is accompanied by its 5½” x 4¼” envelope which is torn at the top and is postmarked December 5, 1955. It reads, in full:

“Rufus is delighted with his new blue collar and lead, and it suits him very well. It is so kind of you to remember him again and to send him such a lovely present. Thank you very much.”

(4) One 5” x 8” page typed letter signed “Winston S. Churchill”. Addressed “28 Hyde Park Gate, London, December 5, 1957”. With a file hole in the upper left corner, the letter is in excellent condition with its original 5½” x 4¼” envelope which is torn at the top and postmarked December 6, 1957. It reads: in full:

“How very kind of you to think of Rufus again on my birthday, and to send him such an attractive and useful present. Thank you so much.”

(5) One 5” x 8” page typed letter signed “Winston S. Churchill”. Addressed “Chartwell, Kent, December 2, 1958”. In fine condition with its original 5¼” x 4¼” Prime Minister envelope postmarked December 2, 1951, stained at the right edge. It reads, in full:

“It was indeed kind of you to remember my birthday, and to send Rufus a new collar and lead. It suits him well, and he is most proud of it. Thank you so much.”

(6) One 5” x 8” page typed letter signed “Winston S. Churchill”. Addressed “28 Hyde Park Gate, London, December 2, 1960”. In fine condition with its original 5¼” x 4¼” envelope postmarked December 5, 1960. It reads, in full:

“How very kind of you to remember my birthday again and send Rufus such a lovely coat. It will be most useful to him in the cold weather. Thank you so much.”

(7) One 5” x 8” page typed letter signed “W S Churchill”. Addressed “28 Hyde Park Gate, London, December 2, 1961”. In fine condition with its original 5¼” x 4¼” envelope postmarked December 4 1961. It reads, in full:

“How very kind of you to remember my birthday again, and to send Rufus a smart new collar and lead, which he is wearing with pleasure. Thank you so much.”

A remarkable collection of personal correspondence.

Further notes:

From The Little Brown Book of Anecdotes, 1985 “The poodle [Rufus] ate in the dining room with the rest of the [Churchill] family. A cloth was laid for him on the Persian carpet beside the head of the household, and no one else ate until the butler had served Rufus's meal. One evening at Chequers [Churchill’s country estate] the film was ‘Oliver Twist.’ Rufus, as usual, had the best seat in the house, on his master's lap. At the point when Bill Sikes was about to drown his dog to put the police off his track, Churchill covered Rufus's eyes with his hand. He said, "Don't look now, dear. I'll tell you about it afterwards."

Category: Manuscripts

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Lot: 83

Catalogue: 1

Bids: 4

Bidders: 3

Minimum Bid:£3,500

Final Price:£8,186

End Date: 2012-05-24 19:30:00