Two new exhibitions celebrating the life of Winston Churchill and the importance of horses at Blenheim Palace, is going ahead this month thanks to a £1.9m government grant.
A life-size waxwork of Sir Winston Churchill will take pride of place in The Churchill Exhibition opening on May 17, dedicated to Churchill’s lifelong association with Blenheim.
The Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage grant has also helped fund The Stables Exhibition, an immersive and interactive experience set within the Palace’s historic stable block, where life-size model inspired by Winston Churchill’s childhood pony Rob Roy, will be on display, complete with miniature bridle.
to make the completed figure as realistic as possible, Churchill’s original tailors provided bespoke authentic clothing and accessories
The Churchill Exhibition will feature photographs, letters, artefacts and excerpts from his most famous speeches, to give you a real sense of our ‘Greatest Briton’, designed specifically to appeal to a family audience.
The life-size Churchill bust was created by internationally-renowned sculptor Jethro Crabb, initially carved out of clay, covered in silicone to make a mould, then filled with a special formula of wax.
The final stage involved colour and hair artist Sue Day adding the final touches by painstakingly inserting individual hair follicles into the scalp and then carefully colour matching the face, before the life-size figure was assembled and clothed.
In order to make the completed figure as realistic as possible, designers contacted Churchill’s original tailor, hat, glasses and shoemakers to provide bespoke authentic clothing and accessories, made to his own measurements.
The exhibition will be located in the artist’s studio used by the wartime leader overlooking the Water Terraces at Blenheim.
One of the stables includes a life-size model inspired by Winston Churchill’s childhood pony Rob Roy, complete with miniature bridle
The Stables Exhibition which also opens on May 17 features a recreation of the original Blenheim tack room, complete with vintage saddles and tack, as well as various other equestrian-related items such as riding gear, from the Blenheim estate.
Life-sized models of horses and ponies made from a variety of materials including wood and willow, have been specially created for the exhibition, as well as a vintage carriage, audio-visual displays and projections.
As for Churchill’s pony, Rob Roy, it was first ridden by a seven-year-old Churchill in April 1882, during a stay at Blenheim. The future wartime leader was the grandson of the 7th Duke of Marlborough and was born at the Palace.
Churchill became an expert rider and, aged 23, took part in the British army’s last ever cavalry charge during the Battle of Omdurman in 1898
Churchill went on to become an expert rider and, aged 23, took part in the British army’s last ever cavalry charge during the Battle of Omdurman in 1898.
Other displays include the Palace’s original tack room, which is open to the public for the first time complete with the family’s saddles and riding equipment, the stable office and an area where live horse displays can take place, as well as the chance to attempt to ride side saddle.
A new art-themed restaurant and café is set to open as part of the new attractions, which will feature a touchless ordering app.
Blenheim Chief Executive Dominic Hare hailed the grant as an “amazing shot in the arm.”
“We are utterly delighted to have secured this wonderful grant which will help us deliver a raft of crucial projects to ensure we can give as many visitors as possible the best and safest welcome,” he said.
To find out more go to http://www.blenheimpalace.com