Last year we had the fortune to visit Chatsworth House at Christmas. This was an absolute delight to see the decorations around the house with the theme of Wind in the Willows (my posts are here and here). This year, Blenheim Palace was going to be our start to the lead up to Christmas. The birthplace of Winston Churchill and the wealthy Dukes of Marlborough (the only dukedom that allows for female inheritance due to an Act of Parliament back in 1703 as there were no male heirs to the title).
This visit will be in two parts (like my Chatsworth posts), focussing on the inside today and then another post taking you outside at the weekend. So, are you sitting comfortably? Is the fire lit, Earl Grey tea to hand and a custard cream? Here we go... Let's enter the hall with some modern art looping above us.
In the rooms that were on display, modern art took pride of place with various forms of textiles. The link is here if you want to view some of Michelangelo Pistoletto's work. I do love textiles, but unlike the artwork at Chatsworth House last year, this did not carry on the Christmas theme.
Yes, that's enough of the art, let's look at some decorations!
One of the rules in my house for when decorating a tree is NOT to have the lights outside of the decorations! I had to stop myself from sorting this one out!!
There was a beautiful library to marvel at, however the modern art took over almost completely with mirrors and people cut outs which really spoilt the effect. Looking up as I do, I was able to focus away from the hall of mirrors.
... and then looking up! SCAFFOLDING! I do love scaffolding, and this was amazing with the Christmas decorations to prettify the steel poles.
The Greatest Briton who needs no words really as his life is well recorded, however you can read about his Orders, Decorations and Medals here.
In the Churchill Exhibition you can see his Dispatch Box which he used in 1919. To think that he held that handle and the documents that were held inside!
And, this is a little macabre, Churchill's curls from when he was five years old!
A few more pictures to finish off?... One of the many amazing ceilings of this Palace...
An exquisite cradle which was meant to be a replica of one that Napolean Bonapart commissioned for his heir, was ordered by the 9th Duke of Marlborough's wife, Consuelo Vandabilt.
Now, for me, the feet of the cradle reminded me of the 'dolphin' lamps at the side of the Thames ...
As myself and Mumsy do, we like to compare the houses that we have previously seen. Still nothing has come close to the sheer scale of Burghley House in Stamford and the natural welcome of the house, but Blenheim certainly has the austerity and brazenness of wealth thrown at every corner. Everything was on a magnificent scale, but a little cold if I'm honest. Chatsworth felt warm with its beautiful decorations and personal touches. Highclere felt like a large family home and well loved. Burghley House again felt like a well loved building oozing history. Blenheim was here to sell. I heard one guide say that the house has to open each year otherwise it goes back to the Crown. I think this sentence explained a lot to me.
There was a tour of upstairs, but to be honest, my camera didn't even whisper to come out. The Untold Story tour took you through time controlled doors and into small exhibition rooms where you could only enter the next room when the time had elapsed. The creepy mannequins telling the story of the house in small cramped surroundings and timed conditions were not something I would want to experience again. I'm not claustrophobic but I felt thoroughly trapped and uncomfortable!
So, happily it was time to go outside! See you at the weekend!!