State Dining Room, Blenheim Palace, Woodstock 2014
© Leslie Hossack
Winston Churchill visited his grandparents at Blenheim Palace several times for Christmas. In December 1881, when he was seven years old, he wrote to his mother from Blenheim to thank her for his presents. On Christmas Day, perhaps the table in the state dining room looked as it does in the photograph above.
During Sir Winston Churchill’s lifetime (1874 – 1965) the stewardship of Blenheim Palace passed through four Dukes of Marlborough: Winston’s grandfather, John Winston Spencer-Churchill, the 7th Duke; Winston’s uncle, George Charles Spencer-Churchill, the 8th Duke; Winston’s cousin, Charles Richard John (Sunny) Spencer-Churchill, the 9th Duke; and Sunny’s son, John Albert William Spencer-Churchill, the 10th Duke.
In more recent times, John George Vanderbilt Henry Spencer-Churchill became the 11th Duke in 1972. He and his family lived at Blenheim Palace, but only used the state dining room once a year, on Christmas Day. He died in 2014, and was succeeded by his son, Charles James Spencer-Churchill, now the 12th Duke of Marlborough.
The image featured above is part of the limited edition collector’s portfolio created by Leslie Hossack to mark the 50th anniversary of the death of Sir Winston Churchill. She presents locations that chart Churchill’s personal and political life, from his birth at Blenheim Palace in 1874 until his death in London in 1965. THE CHURCHILL PHOTOGRAPHS are part of Hossack’s larger body of work that explores Nazi architecture in Berlin, Stalinist structures in Moscow, contested sites in Jerusalem, a Cold War bunker in Ottawa, NATO’s Headquarter Camp in Kosovo, and buildings linked to the Japanese Canadian internment during World War II.
To view more photographs, please visit Leslie’s website. lesliehossack.com