Blenheim Palace National Heritage List Data

Blenheim Palace is listed on the National Heritage List for England with the following data. Some information may have become outdated since the date of listing. Text courtesy of Historic England. © Crown Copyright, reprinted under the Open Government License.

National Heritage List for England Facts

List Entry ID
West Oxfordshire
Grid Reference
SP 44046 16190

National Heritage List for England Description

BLENHEIM SP41NW, SP4416 2/1, 8/1 Blenheim Palace 27/08/57 GV I Country house. 1706-29, by Sir John Vanbrugh and Nicholas Hawksmoor for the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough; carvings by Grinling Gibbons and interiors by Laguerre, Thornhill et. al. Limestone ashlar, with rusticated corner towers and details; lead roofs; stone stacks. House has 4 corner towers, and Great Court to north flanked by Stable Court to east and Kitchen Court to west. Baroque style. Two storeys. Sashes to all windows. North front has central 9-bay facade, articulated by giant order of Corinthian pilasters; 3-bay pedimented portico; carving of the Marlborough Arms in tympanum, figures of Britannia and chained slaves on pediment and centurions on parapet by Grinling Gibbons; huge cleft open pediment set behind portico, with clerestory windows to Hall ranged to rear. Quadrants, articulated by Doric engaged columns, link facade to corner towers which have banded rustication, arched windows and bracketed cornices; superstructure to each tower has curved flying buttresses and pinnacles of reversed fleurs-de-lys, piled-up cannon balls and ducal coronets. Colonnades, with engaged Doric columns and carved military achievements by Gibbons, are linked to 11 bay blocks: rusticated archways, in centre of each block and leading to Kitchen and Stable Courts, are flanked by banded Doric columns and surmounted by carvings of the Lion of England savaging the Cock of France. Clock towers behind each archway have interlocking pediments with ball finial. 7-bay end blocks have rusticated Doric pilasters to pedimented centre of north facades. East and west fronts each have central full-height bow windows, with caryatids to west, and similar corner towers to south. South front has tall 9-bay facade to centre, articulated by giant order of Corinthian pilasters progressing to columns in central portico: entablature of portico surmounted by bust of Louis XIV, taken from the city gates of Tournai after its sack in 1709. Roof has finials and military carvings by Grinling Gibbons. Kitchen Court to west: castellated parapet, and arcaded to north and south with heavy open-pedimented Doric porches; east gateway, which houses water cistern, has obelisk-shaped pillars resting on cannon balls flanking cast-iron gates of c.1890 and garlands and statues in niches by Sir William Chambers, 1766-75. Orangery to south of Kitchen Court has arcaded front with sashes and heavy Doric porch of 2 orders with open pediment. Great Court in front of palace remodelled. by Achille Duchene in 1910: military trophies, flanking steps in front of portico, carved by Grinling Gibbons; low ashlar walls surrounding Great Court have piers with wheatear festoons over medallions, and flaming urns to piers in angles of south-east and south-west corners; wrought-iron gates to front, flanked by scrolled ironwork panels. Interior: Great Hall, with 3-tier arcades and Corinthian columns and cornices carved by Grinling Gibbons, has ceiling painted by Sir James Thornhill in 1716 which shows Marlborough presenting plan of Battle of Blenheim to Britannia. Vaulted stone corridors link Great Hall to east and west wings. Stairs to left of Great Hall has iron balustrade continued in front of gallery above proscenium arch, with arms of Queen Anne carved by Gibbons, which leads from Hall to Saloon to rear. Saloon: marble fireplace by Townesend; marble doorcases with carved shells to keys by Grinling Gibbons; walls and ceiling decorated 1719-20 by Louis Laguerre. Suite of 3 rooms to left (east) have plasterwork ceilings by Hawksmoor, and marble fireplaces by Sir William Chambers; scrolls, eagles and phoenixes in coving of ceilings of c.1890, Suite of 3 State Rooms to right, (west) of Saloon have tapestries by Judocus de Vos depicting Marlborough's victories, the remainder of the set being elsewhere in the house: fireplaces by Gibbons and Chambers; Rococo decoration of c.1890, with inset portraits set in gilt frames; First State Room h