The Roaring Lion

The Roaring Lion is a famous photographic portrait of Winston Churchill, prime minister of the United Kingdom between 1940-45 and again between 1950-55. The portrait was taken in 1941 by Turkish-born Armenian-Canadian photographer Yousuf Karsh in the Centre Block on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.[2]

The Roaring Lion
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Churchill - 19086236948.jpg
ArtistYousuf Karsh
Year30 December 1941
Dimensions30.8 cm (12.1 in) × 24.0 cm (9.4 in)
LocationOttawa, Canada Edit this at Wikidata
CollectionLibrary and Archives Canada, National Portrait Gallery Edit this on Wikidata
Accession No.MIKAN 3915740 Edit this on Wikidata

The photograph was shot on December 30, 1941, in the chamber of the Speaker of the House of Commons at the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa after Churchill delivered a speech on World War II to the Canadian members of parliament. It was arranged by Canadian prime minister Mackenzie King.

Churchill is particularly noted for his posture and facial expression, which have been compared to the wartime feelings that prevailed in the UK – persistence in the face of an all-conquering enemy. The photo session was short and, just before exposure, Karsh moved towards Churchill and removed the cigar which he had in his hand. Churchill was miffed and showed his displeasure in the portrait. USC Fisher Museum of Art described it as a "defiant and scowling portrait [which] became an instant icon of Britain's stand against fascism."[3]

It appeared on the cover of the May 21, 1945, issue of Life,[4] which bought it for $100. It now hangs on the wall of the Speaker's chamber.


  1. ^ "The Roaring Lion – Yousuf Karsh's Portrait of Winston Churchill". May 27, 2014. Retrieved April 12, 2020.
  2. ^ "From Colonel Sanders to Grace Kelly: Iconic American Portraits by Yousuf Karsh". Smithsonian. November 19, 2013. Retrieved September 5, 2020.
  3. ^ Travis, David (2010). "Yousuf Karsh: Regarding Heroes". University of Southern California. Retrieved September 5, 2020.
  4. ^ "Winston Churchill". Life. May 21, 1945 – via Google Books.

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