The Late Lady Williams of Elvel (1929-2023)

04 December 2023

Bellmans are delighted to offer selected items from the estate of the Late Lady Williams of Elvel (1929-2023) for auction.

Lady Jane Williams (nee Portal)was Churchill’s personal secretary in the 1950s, a niece of the deputy prime minister ‘Rab’ Butler and mother to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. Born in Delhi she studied in England and eventually started working as one of Churchill’s secretaries, where after a few months of filing papers in the basement of his home, she was summoned to take dictation notes at his bedside with his poodle and cat for company, most notably for his history of the Second World War and was happy to work at all hours She ended up winning him over with her skill and charm when he wanted to revise a speech and all the other secretaries were unavailable, eventually becoming one of his most trusted members of staff.

“You knew you were around a monumental man still making history as well as writing it.”
Lady Williams of Elvel on working for Sir. Winston Churchill

“I remember in the car him just weeping because he felt the history of it”

Lady Williams of Elvel on driving to Heathrow with Winston Churchill to greet the new Queen Elizabeth on the death of King George VI

After working for Churchill, she also assisted the legendary actress Dame Edith Evans and the Novel prize-winner Professor Dir Ernst Chain and served as a member of the Parole Board, a court magistrate and as a deputy lieutenant of Greater London.

Lot 451
Lot 451
Lot 452
Lot 452

Her collection has several pieces of fine porcelain including Lot 451 a Meissen porcelain figure of Harlequin and Columbine £1500-£2500 and Lot 452 a Meissen porcelain figure of a Pierrot £1500-£2500, both modelled by Paul Scheurich from the Ballet Russes.

Bellmans will also be selling a fine 17th century portrait of a noblewoman with faun attributed to Thomas Hill in our March 2024 Old Masters Sale.

Next Auctions

DSC04700 Copy
17 June 2024 at 1pm
DSC08534
24 June 2024 at 1pm
P Aint1
24 June 2024 at 10am
DSC06445
25 June 2024 at 10am
Carpet
25 June 2024 at 11:30am
1263 3
26 June 2024 at 2pm