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Sir Winston Churchill painting which cheered up Vivien Leigh up for auction

A Sir Winston Churchill painting of roses which cheered up Vivien Leigh is going on sale in an auction of the screen star's belongings.

The Gone With The Wind actress placed Roses In A Glass Vase on the wall opposite her bed, after the wartime prime minister gave it to her as a present, and told how it gave her "the determination to go on".

The painting is going on display for the first time, at Sotheby's in London, before it could fetch £100,000 at auction.

It was painted from flowers Sir Winston picked from his garden at his country home, Chartwell, Kent.

Sir Winston Churchill was better known for his landscape paintings.

The oil painting has been with the actress and then her family ever since Sir Winston gave it to her, during a midnight supper he hosted at his home in 1951.

It is expected to be one of the star lots of Sotheby's sale of Leigh's personal collection on September 26.

It is thought that Sir Winston's book, Painting As A Pastime, on the therapeutic benefits of making art, may have inspired the actress to pick up a paintbrush.

She later said of her gift: "Whenever I feel particularly low or depressed I look at those three rosebuds.

"The thought and the friendship in the painting is such a great encouragement to me... and I have the determination to go on."

Vivien Leigh, a Holywood star, seen in home footage never publicly seen before. Credit: Family archive

Frances Christie, head of Sotheby's modern and post-war British art department, told ITV News that Sir Winston's oil painting revealed the deep and long-lasting friendship between the unlikely pair.

"She said that when she was feeling depressed that looking at this picture really gave her the will to go on because it reminded her of friendship and of colour and of life," she said.

"I think that says a lot about the respect that Churchill had for her and also how deep their friendship went."

Vivien Leigh's family is now selling a number of her paintings along with other personal items.

Sir Winston and Leigh first met in 1936, on the set of Fire Over England, when she was a little-known actress and he an established Parliamentarian more than twice her age.

Their friendship would last for 30 years, until Sir Winston's death in 1965.

Sir Winston's still life painting and Vivien Leigh's Italian landscape will be on display from 17 July to 11 August at Sotheby's on New Bond Street in London.