Some ORA students at Merton College used their weekend to visit the spectacular Blenheim Palace and indulge themselves in some English history.
The family home of the Dukes of Marlborough – also known as the Churchills – has been marvelling visitors since its construction in the mid-18th century. Gifted to the first Duke, John Churchill, after his successes at the Battle of Blenheim in 1704, the Palace contains incredible art and architecture throughout.
The world-famous Marlborough Tapestries line the walls of the State Rooms and depict (with incredible accuracy) events during the Battle of Blenheim. From battle scenes to victorious moments, the detail in the Tapestries makes them extremely valuable artefacts. Alongside the extraordinary original artefacts, a Yves Klein exhibit also transformed some paintings and objects into colourful abstract works of art. Some appreciated the bizarre inclusion of splashes of blue canvases hanging on the walls, whilst others preferred the more traditional layout.
Audio guides provided students with extensive information in each of the rooms and it was clear to see that some were fascinated by the portraits, whilst others gazed in wonder at wallpaper and ceilings. With lots of photographs snapped inside to remember the grand outing (many of which have been kindly provided to us by student Lorenzo de Sanctis), pupils ventured outdoors to relax in the vast parkland.
An Aston Martin car display temporarily distracted some of the students, who wasted no time in posing by their favourite vehicles and taking photos. After the excitement had slightly subsided and staff could drag them away, pupils took to the lake to see the gorgeous boathouse and relax by the fountains.
The day was a wonderful combination of culture and the outdoors, giving everyone the chance to enjoy some true and significant English history. Now the weekend is over, we look forward to seeing what else ORA students at Merton get up to – stay tuned.