Today we went to Blenheim Palace, the home of the Dukes of Marlborough. Satoshi had found a two-for-one deal so we got in for "only" £24.90. There was a lot to see and do and although we stayed until it was getting dark, we didn't have time for everything.
We were again most fortunate to have such a lovely sunny day!
The ceiling of the entry porch
The ceiling of the entry hall
There were several fine tapestries. This one depicts the Duke of Marlborough winning the Battle of Blenheim.
Does this portrait look a little odd? Like something is not quite right? That's because artists used to have portraits "in stock" and then paint the faces in later!
Unfortunately, there was a modern "art" exhibition in the palace. You can see some of it in this room - some rolls of material tied together. I felt that this detracted from our experience somewhat. Especially in some rooms we saw later. I just don't "get" much in relation to modern art!
This is another "art work". It consists of a large pile of white rags and a large pile of coloured rags with a sheet of glass between them. It was impossible to avoid it when taking photos.
This is the library - it had mirrors with paper cut outs stuck on them.
The ceiling in the library - now that is art!
The organ is quite large having four manuals and 56 speaking stops, It was built by "Father" Henry Willis who was considered to be the finest organ builder of the Victorian era.
The above three images are of Winston Churchill. He was related to the family at Blenheim.
The only exhibit by Pistoletto which I found to be anything like artistic was this dog staring at itself in the mirror.
This portrait of the 4th Duke of Marlborough, wearing his robes of the Order of the Garter is in the Green Drawing Room (above).
This huge painting is by John Singer Sargent, and shows the 9th Duke and Duchess with their two sons and dogs. The boy in the middle of the painting became the 10th Duke, the current Duke's grandfather. You can tell that he was the heir and his brother 'the spare' just by looking at how the boys are positioned in the painting. The family are painted in the Great Hall, but you will notice that the 9th Duke appears to be standing a step down from the Duchess. This was a clever trick used by Singer Sargent to mask the fact that the Duke was much shorter than the Duchess. Also, the Duchess had a very long neck - she claimed that she could easily wear five strings of pearls without chafing!
This model of the Palace was made from 100,000 match sticks. Apparently, the artist who created it had not even been to Blenheim and worked from a souvenir guide book.
This model of the palace was made from sugar. It was part of a cake.
The Water Terraces
This eagle had obviously escaped from a lectern somewhere. I must keep a look out for an "eagle-less" lectern.
By the time we explored the gardens, the daylight was beginning to fade (about 3:30pm!). The gardens are very extensive - the walking tracks are measured in miles!
This cascade was designed by "Capability" Brown the famous landscape architect. A large lake is also part of the garden.
The surface of the water in the lake was like a mirror. Even without direct sunlight, the reflections were amazing!
This pheasant was also out for a walk in the garden.
When we got back to the palace, I took this photo of the moon.
Blenheim Palace is gearing up for its "Christmas at Blenheim".
Having spent so much sending books back home, I have resolved to try to buy them on Book Depository because the postage is free! I was very pleased to be able to buy a book from them that I saw in the Blenheim shop for 20% less and free postage. Satoshi found one too.
Our evening event for the day was to attend a performance of a dramatization of Charlotte Brontë's novel Jane Eyre. It was at St.Mary's Church in Garsington, a short distance from Oxford. We had dinner (very generous serving - I couldn't eat it all) at the local pub and we walked the short distance to the church. There were candle lanterns along the pathways next to the graveyard which made it very atmospheric. The Garsington Community Theatre production was excellent. All the actors did a marvellous job.