The Tomb of the Duke

One of the things that I had forgotten about Blenheim was the sheer scale of the great monument to the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough in the chapel at Blenheim.   One does not expect the atmosphere of an early eighteenth-century chapel to be especially pious, particularly if designed by Vanbrugh who was fairly agnostic, but it is still impressive how far the chapel is a shrine to the Duke.   The tomb was designed by William Kent and executed by Rysbrack and is a masterpiece in its way.   On 24 May 1732, the Duchess of Marlborough wrote a characteristically boastful letter about its design:  ‘The Chappel is finish’d and more than half the Tomb there ready to set up all in Marble Decorations of figures, Trophies, Medals with their inscriptions and in short everything that could do the Duke of Marlborough Honor and Justice’:

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One thought on “The Tomb of the Duke

  1. Paul Boucher says:

    Perhaps an inspiration for the fabulous 1751 Roubiiac monument to the Marlboroughs’ daughter the Duchess of Montagu in Warkton church on the Boughton estate – now gloriously restored to its pristine lifelike state.

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