Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Perfect Weekend Excursion from London

Brilliant sunny skies and a trip to Blenheim Palace on a perfect autumn Sunday. The palace had recently  been decorated for Christmas inside and out. Passing through a series of porticos, courtyards and gates to get to the main entrance one can understand clearly how this building was created more as a monument than as a home to the first Duke of Marlborough and his wife and family.

Sarah, the first Duchess tried valiantly to control the government appointed architect who was determined 
to create a monument rather than a palace of for living. Embellishments of every kind on every corner of the building were carved and created. 

Now skipping through the ages to the 9th Earl of Marlborough, 'Sunny", forced to hunt for a wealthy wife to save the family seat in 1898. Luckily for Blenheim Palace the mother of Consuelo Vanderbilt was desperate to have a title in the family. The marriage was doomed but Blenheim was saved by the Vanderbilt fortune.

One of the most intriguing features of Blenheim was installed after their divorce when the duke married his mistress, the beautiful blue-eyed Gladys Deacon. This marriage was not a success either, one suspects Sunny was not of a very sunny nature once married. However; before the thunder clouds set in, a touching tribute to his bride was painted on the ceiling of the entrance of the north portico. Recently restored, the deco styled brilliant blue eyes of Gladys shine down on the visitor. Painted by Colin Gill in 1928 they bring a smile as one enters the main hall.

There still is some debate over who the brown eyes belong to, are they Sunny's or Conseulo's watching over the palace?

1 comment:

quintessence said...

Beautiful shots Heather!! I've always wanted to visit Blenheim - thank you for the vicarious trip this morning!