Blenheim Palace

I don’t mind how often I go to Blenheim, Vanbrugh’s greatest masterpiece, but one for which he has never really got the credit – partly because, from the very beginning, the Duchess of Marlborough vilified him for his extravagance, partly because it ended up costing far more than parliament allowed, partly because British taste has never really warmed to its full-blown, palatial magnificence and because, more recently, it has been thought that much of the detail was carried out by subordinates. But I remember going through Vanbrugh’s detailed correspondence when it first arrived in the British Library and how devoted Vanbrugh was to all aspects of the choice of stone, building management, and supervision not just of the design, but its construction as well. He was much more proud of it, more involved and less buccaneer than has sometimes been thought, not least by the odious Duchess.

The entrance courtyard:-

The Hall:-

Details of the interior:-

The library:-

The parterre:-

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