Churchill was a great traveller and his many trips abroad, both on business and for pleasure, provided him with the perfect opportunity to combine a visit with his favourite pastime of painting. His principal genre was landscapes and his paintings chart his travels around the world.
Marrakech was to become one of his most popular destinations, on his first visit over Christmas in 1935 he wrote home to Clementine describing the city, '[a] truly remarkable panorama over the tops of orange trees and olives, and the houses and ramparts of the native Marrakech, and like a great wall to the westward the snowclad range of the Atlas mountains - some of them are nearly fourteen thousand feet high. The light at dawn and sunset upon the snows, even at sixty miles distance, is as good as any snowscape I have ever seen' (see M. Soames, Winston Churchill His life as a painter, London, 1990, p. 101).
Although he visited Marrakech many times, Churchill was not in Morocco in 1954 and the present work, rather than being painted en plein air, was based on a photograph from the Studio archives at Chartwell.
Henry Luce III was the son of the founder and editor-in-chief of Time Inc., Henry Robinson Luce. Long-time board member of Time Inc. and later Time Warner, during his 45-year media career he was also Time magazine's London bureau chief in the mid 1960s and publisher of Fortune magazine. A keen patron of the arts his collection included prominent 20th century and contemporary artists.