This room houses more of the iconic 'Victories' series of tapestries, and the centrepiece is a large portrait of the 'Sun King' Louise XIV of France, nemesis of the first Duke of Marlborough (below left).
The Duke's reason for displaying a portrait of his enemy in all his glory was simple - he beat him! Marlborough's decisive victory against the French army at the Battle of Blenheim crushed the aura of French invincibility, and any mention of the battle was banned from The Sun King's presence afterwards.
The room is also home to some fine bronzes, including an Italian 17th century cast of Hercules grappling a Centaur, and the baby who grew up to become the 10th Duke. If you look carefully, you can also see matching candelabra in ormolu and Blue John, George III oval occasional tables and Louis Quinze commodes. The carpet is a c.1850 Aubusson made in France, and is a treasure in itself.
Henrietta was the daughter of John and Sarah Churchill, the 1st Duke and Duchess of Marlborough. Both of her brothers died when they were young, which was not uncommon during the 18th century.
Because there were no male children to inherit the title, Queen Anne agreed that Henrietta could become 2nd Duchess of Marlborough in her own right.
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