Charlie Chaplin left the United Kingdom in 1912, a successful music hall comedian in Fred Karno’s troupe, but certainly not a rich man. In 1921, some 65 films later, he returned to his home country - now a wealthy international star. As we can see from the cheque book stubs in the archives, on September 14th 1921 he treated himself to several pairs of silk pyjamas - the ultimate in luxury- from Turnbull & Asser’s in Jermyn Street. We also see he spent £208 at “Collins the tailor”.
What must it have felt like to return to London in such triumph, to stay at the Ritz, and snap up several hundred pounds’ worth of clothing that the emigrating 23 year old would never have even imagined being able to wear?
In 1931 and 1932 Chaplin travelled the world, and again his cheque book stubs provide us with interesting information. For example, two weeks at the Palace Hotel in St Moritz cost £325!
On January 24th 1932, Chaplin made a donation to Winston Churchill of £200.
And in Bali on April 16th 1932 (Charlie’s birthday) he wrote a cheque to artist Walter Spies for $400, presumably in exchange for the two paintings - one is Rehjagd (Deerhunt) painted in Bali that same year - Chaplin bought from him.