"A commonplace book is what a provident poet cannot subsist without, for this proverbial reason, that “great wits have short memories:” and whereas, on the other hand, poets, being liars by profession, ought to have good memories; to reconcile these, a book of this sort, is in the nature of a supplemental memory, or a record of what occurs remarkable in every day’s reading or conversation." - Jonathan Swift, "A Letter of Advice to a Young Poet"

Sunday, August 5, 2012

An Excursion to the Palace

On Wednesday, I took myself out on an excursion to Blenheim Palace, the home of the Dukes of Marlborough and birthplace of Winston Churchill.

If I remember right from the guided tour I took (I was a little distracted by all those giant family portraits and all that 24-karat gold leaf on the ceilings), it was built after the War of Spanish Succession on grounds that the crown offered to the Duke as a recompense for valor in battle. But even though the palace has its origins in war, the main dining room is devoted to peace, with trompe l'oeil paintings of deputies from various countries coming together in a grand colonnade. The rest of the state rooms I saw are very heavily decorated in English and French baroque styles, with sweeping views of the palace grounds.

I spent most of the day wandering around outside, marveling at the expanses of sloping lawns and vistas of the tree-lined lake. The ground were carefully landscaped by one of the previous dukes, and the lake was actually artificially dug out, but they were apparently very good at landscaping back then, because it looks very natural and the prospect from almost every point in the park is very pleasing to the eye. Here are some photos, then, from my rambles that day.


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