Blenheim Palace

Blenheim Palace

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English residence near Woodstock, Oxfordshire, designed by John Vanbrugh and built (1705–24) by the British Parliament as a gift to John Churchill, duke of Marlborough.

It is regarded as the finest example of Baroque architecture in Britain. In the early 18th century Queen Anne's gardener, Henry Wise, designed its grounds in the formal style of the Palace of Versailles; Capability Brown later redesigned them in his pastoral style, using natural-looking woods, lawns, and waterways.

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      residence near Woodstock, Oxfordshire, Eng., built (1705–24) by the English Parliament as a national gift to John Churchill, 1st duke of Marlborough (Marlborough, John Churchill, 1st Duke of, Marquess Of Blandford, Earl Of Marlborough, Baron Churchill Of Sandridge, Lord Churchill Of Eyemouth, Reichsfürst). During the War of the Spanish Succession (Spanish Succession, War of the), he had led the English to victory over the French and Bavarians at the Battle of Blenheim (Blenheim, Battle of) in Germany in 1704. The palace was designed by Sir John Vanbrugh (Vanbrugh, Sir John), with a great deal of involvement by Nicholas Hawksmoor (Hawksmoor, Nicholas), and is regarded as the finest example of truly Baroque (Baroque period) architecture in Great Britain.

      In the early 18th century Queen Anne's gardener, Henry Wise, designed the grounds of the palace in the formal style of André Le Nôtre (Le Nôtre, André)'s famed gardens for Vaux-le-Vicomte and Versailles (Versailles, Palace of) in France. Little remains of Wise's landscaping, however, because tastes changed in the mid-18th century, and Lancelot (Capability) Brown (Brown, Lancelot) was asked to redesign the grounds in his pastoral style of informal or seemingly natural landscapes of woods, lawns, and waterways. Sir Winston Churchill (Churchill, Sir Winston) was born at Blenheim Palace.

      In 1987 the palace and its surrounding property were inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The 2,100-acre (850-hectare) estate, which has remained in the Churchill family, is open to the public.

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Universalium. 2010.

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