Ceiling in The Great Hall
The painting on the ceiling of the Great Hall is ‘allegorical', which means that each person in the painting is either wearing or holding something that has separate significance.
John Churchill, the 1st Duke of Marlborough, is kneeling at the feet of Queen Anne who is shown dressed as Britannia, a female warrior who carried a trident and wore a helmet. She symbolises Great Britain or the British Empire.
John Churchill is pointing towards a map. This is a plan of the Battle of Blenheim.
Sculpture of the 9th Duke of Marlborough
This is a sculpture by Epstein of the 9th Duke of Marlborough, who is a cousin of Sir Winston Churchill. Epstein said he had trouble sculpting the Duke's hands.
The 9th Duke married a wealthy American heiress, Consuelo Vanderbilt, and used her money to restore the Palace and its contents.
1st Duke of Marlborough with his family (West Corridor)
Here is a portrait of John Churchill, the 1st Duke of Marlborough, with his family. You can see his wife, Sarah, seated in the middle. The girl beside her, wearing a green dress, is Lady Henrietta, who became the 2nd Duchess of Marlborough.
The boy on the far right of the picture is their eldest son, the Marquess of Blandford. He died when he was young. John and Sarah had already lost their first son, who died as a baby. This meant that the Dukedom passed to Henrietta.
10th Duchess of Marlborough (West Corridor)
This elegant lady is the 10th Duchess of Marlborough, grandmother of the present Duke.
9th Duchess of Marlborough (West Corridor)
This beautiful lady was Consuelo, the 9th Duchess of Marlborough, great-grandmother to the present Duke.
She was a Vanderbilt - of the wealthiest families in America.
Her husband was not in love with her, nor she with him. It was a marriage of convenience. But she brought great wealth to the family.
This painting of Queen Anne hangs above the gallery in the Great Hall. She is wearing a beautiful velvet cloak, lined with ermine.
When John Churchill won the Battle of Blenheim, Queen Anne was so pleased that she gave him the money to build Blenheim Palace, and the land to build it on. She had also been a great friend of John Churchill’s wife, Sarah, since childhood.
To find out more about any of the Dukes and Duchesses, head to the dedicated Family Tree page using the button below.