28 July 2023
Lady Henrietta Spencer-Churchill praises challenging artworks
Anyone planning a trip to Blenheim Palace this summer, will be treated to an artistic explosion as they walk through the gigantic main gate to this UNESCO World Heritage Site. A huge group of up-for-the-challenge young people created over one hundred artworks to adorn the main gateway into the palace as part of a literally transformative collaboration with Oxfordshire Youth.
Their pieces adorn a gigantic hoarding currently covering Blenheim’s Falstaff Gate whilst it undergoes a transformation. Manufactured in 1851, the gate was originally on display at the Great Exhibition at Crystal Palace, but 172 years later, needs some tender, loving care to restore it to its former glory. Whilst the metal is being ice blasted and sections recovered in gold leaf, our young people’s creations are hiding Falstaff’s blushes whilst he takes an ice shower!
Some of the works on display openly challenge the Blenheim estate to face its past, a fact that Lady Henrietta Spencer Churchill embraced, describing the young artist’s ability to express themselves freely as ‘inspiring’. If you can’t make it to Blenheim in person, almost as good is viewing this BBC news footage which features some of the young artists alongside Lady Henrietta endorsing their work and their right to question the history of her family and its ancestral home.
All our budding artists got the opportunity to take inspiration from their surroundings and were treated to a guided tour of the palace, allowing them to explore the history of Blenheim, ask questions and take photographs of objects and artwork that intrigued them. Team building activities designed by Oxfordshire Youth staff encouraged everyone to feel included and fizzy with ideas. As eleven year old Dulcie explains, “There was so much to do and see there – we got to explore different sites like the tower, beautiful gardens and the petting zoo. Me and my friends had the best time!”.
A graphic designer at Blenheim then worked with a printing company to manufacture a large-scale art composition featuring all the workshop pieces. If you find yourself cruising past, or through, the huge entrance gates to Blenheim Palace, you can’t miss the work of Oxfordshire’s youth!