Friday, 1 February 2008

Blenheim Palace - Sir Winston Churchill's Family Home

We visited Blenheim Palace last year when we were staying in Oxford. Previous visits were before the age of digital photography.

There is no way that I can convey to you the size and splendour of this magnificent palace which is the ancestral home and birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. If you did not see my recent blog on Winston’s own family home, you might like to view that first.

It is never possible in these stately homes to take photographs so all my photos are of the grounds and gardens. However these first 10 pictures I have scanned from my guide book to try and give you a little taste. They are a little grainy as my book is larger than the scanner surface and it was slipping a little.

The book begins with these words: by Lady Randolph Churchill

“As we passed through the entrance archway and the lovely scenery burst upon me, Randolph said with pardonable pride, “This is the finest view in England”. Looking at the lake, the bridge, the miles of magnificent park studded with old oaks, I found no adequate words to express my admiration and when we reached the huge and stately palace, I confess I felt awed. But my American pride forbade the admission.”

Writing her reminiscences many years later, this is how Lady Randolph Churchill described her first impressions of Blenheim Palace in 1874. Today, Sir John Vanbrugh’s magnificent Baroque architecture and the beautiful landscape and lake of ‘Capability’ Brown inspire a similar feeling of awe in many of the thousands of modern-day visitors to Blenheim.

Designated by the United Nations as a World Heritage Site, the place carries a unique aura of history and achievement. Blenheim was the gift of Queen Anne and a grateful nation to the 1st Duke of Marlborough for his great victory at the battle of Blenheim in 1704.

Everywhere the palace’s design reflects the triumphal mood, from the military details of the trophies on the colonnades to the scale of the heroic Grand Bridge. The dramatic effect harmonises perfectly with ‘Capability’ Brown’s great lake and hanging beech woods beyond. It all looks so effortlessly natural but in fact the scene was artfully and laboriously created between 1764 and 1774. This is the view which Turner painted and which made George III exclaim, “We have nothing to equal this”

So come with me and enjoy!

I would suggest you double click on the scanned photos for detail

The Great Hall

The bed where Sir Winston was born

The Green Drawing Room

The Red Drawing Room

The Saloon with the silver centrepiece f the Duke of Marlborough on Horseback

First State Room

Third State Room
This is all just the tiniest peep into some corners of a few rooms
This in no way captures the fine tapestries and
paintings and ceilings

Now to my pictures

Monument in the Chapel to the first Duke and Duchess and their two sons, both of whom died young


Willow said...

Well, now I have to learn about the Battle of Blenheim and find out why such a magnificent home was given to the Duke of Marlborough! I learn something from you with every post, Barbara! Thanks!

Paula said...

Now THAT is a palace. Could you even imagine living there? You would definately need an intercom system. The waterfall is gorgeous and the grounds are just immaculate.

Anonymous said...

This is a place I want to visit some day.
Beautiful photos.

Anonymous said...


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