The Karsh photograph of Winston Churchill that made $50,000 (£40,650) at Sotheby’s New York.

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

Though the large version of Karsh’s photograph that made $50,000 (£40,650) at Sotheby’s New York (25/20/13.9% buyer’s premium) in a May 10-20 sale was a later print of 1951, his portrait of a scowling Churchill shown was actually taken on December 30, 1941, immediately following an address made by Churchill to the Canadian parliament in Ottawa.

Churchill’s official biographer, Sir Martin Gilbert, later recalled that when he left the parliamentary chamber he was smiling, but when Karsh, hoping for something stern and warlike, went up to Churchill and plucked the cigar out of his mouth, his smile became a belligerent scowl.

Just what Karsh wanted.