Top 10 Treasures of Blenheim Palace

Home to over 300 years of history and heritage, UNESCO World Heritage Site Blenheim Palace is home to artworks, tapestries, ornaments, ceremonial outfits and letters which are priceless.
Exploring the Palace State Rooms, either with the self-led free audio guide, led by an expert tour guide or just alone with your thoughts, we have cherry-picked the top 10 treasures for visitors to seek out and learn a little more about.

Amongst the thousands of incredible historical items on offer these 10 pieces have been selected because of their unique beauty.

1. Boulle Coffer: Located in the Third State Room the Boulle Coffer was designed by André Charles Boulle in around 1685. The Louis XIV coffer is among the finest examples of a process known as marquetry which was pioneered by the French master cabinetmaker. In Boulle Marquetry, thin sheets of brass, pewter and tortoiseshell are sandwiched together and the design, placed on top, is cut out with a fretsaw, providing identically shaped patterns in each material. In 2009 a pair of similar Boulle Louis XIV coffers were sold for more than £2.6m at Christie’s.

2. Silver Centrepiece: Located in the Saloon the Silver Centrepiece was made in 1846 for the 6th Duke by Garrad’s of London. It is sterling silver and weighs around 110lbs.
It depicts the 1st Duke in the aftermath of the Battle of Blenheim still sitting astride his horse and writing a note home to his wife, Sarah, to inform her of his victory (the Blenheim Dispatch). There is a story that during their unhappy marriage Consuelo liked to have the centrepiece on the table at meal times so she did not have to look at, or talk to, the 9th Duke while they ate.

3. Cradle: Located in the First State Room the Cradle was a wedding gift to the 9th Duke of Marlborough and Consuelo Vanderbilt from her Mother Alva Vanderbilt. It is a copy of one in the Doge’s Palace in Venice that Alva had seen on a visit and felt would be a perfect cradle for her future grandchildren.

4. Rabby Clock: Located in the Green Drawing Room the Rabby Clock is a red-stained tortoiseshell and gilt bronze religieuse table clock, Louis XIV, c. 1690. Signed Rabby A Paris. This is the oldest clock in the Palace’s collection which boasts over 30 timepieces.

5. Ceremonial Sword: Located in the Second State Room the Ceremonial Sword is a dress sword made for the 9th Duke of Marlborough. It is decorated with diamonds and is shown in the large family portrait of the 9th Duke and Duchess and their sons by John Singer Sargent (1905) that hangs in the Red Drawing Room; the Duke has his hand on the top of the hilt and the Marquess of Blandford (later 10th Duke) is holding the hilt further down this symbolises the passing of the title from one generation to the next. The sword was used to cut the cakes at both the 80th birthday celebrations of the 11th Duke and at the marriage of the current Marquess of Blandford to Camilla Thorpe.

6. Lord Ivor Coronation Robes: Located in the Red Drawing Room the Coronation Robes were worn by Lord Ivor at the coronation of George V in 1911. He was the second son of the 9th Duke of Marlborough and Consuelo Vanderbilt.

7. Adoration of Magi Painting: Located in the China Ante Room the painting is by Carlo Dolci, c.1640. oil on canvas, 28in by 22 ¼ in. This is a very fine Dolci’s version of this subject, The Three Kings, and the only painting with religious iconography remaining in Blenheim Palace’s collection after the big sale in 1886. Dolci was one of the most famous artists in Florence in the 17th Century. The quality of the details is extraordinary, highlighting the exotic garments worn by the Kings and the main role of the light contrasts making the figures and fabric have a beautiful relief and movement.

8. Boulle Marquetry Writing Table: Located in the First State Room the table is a red-stained tortoiseshell, brass and pewter Boulle marquetry writing table attributed to Pierre Golle, c. 1700. Hinged oblong top inlaid with a ducal crest and symmetrical arrangement of allegorical figures and coats-of-arms of the Duc d’Aumont within a gadrooned gilt bronze border with shell-cast corner clasps, above a fall, enclosing interior with drawers and a cavetto kneehole. This table was used by Consuelo, 10 Duchess of Marlborough and Sir Winston Churchill.

9. Churchill Shotguns: Located in the Churchill Exhibition these shotguns belonged to Sir Winston Churchill and are on loan from his great-grandson Randolph Spencer-Churchill.
They were made by Woodward & Sons and are believed to have been ordered by Winston’s grandfather, the 7th Duke, as a twenty-fifth birthday present.

10. Churchill Cigar Box: Located in the Churchill Exhibition the diamond-encrusted cigar box was presented to Winston Churchill as a gift by the Belgian Congo with an inscription which translates as: ‘A tribute from the Belgian Congo which never despairs to the one who never despairs – Winston Spencer Churchill, Prime Minister of Great Britain at war.’
The ornate box, which is made from green malachite and ivory with a diamond encrusted handle and Churchill’s initials in gold on the lid, was created by Wolfers Frères in Brussels and is believed to be worth in excess of £1m.


Home to over 300 years of history and heritage, UNESCO World Heritage Site Blenheim Palace is home to artworks, tapestries, ornaments, ceremonial outfits and letters which are priceless.

Explore the Hidden Side of Blenheim Palace

Blenheim Palace is inviting visitors to take a privileged peek inside the Private Apartments which have been lived in by … Continued
Christmas at Holkham

Experience the Magic of Christmas at the Treasure Houses of England

With its unique mix of 10 of the country’s most iconic country houses, palaces and castles the consortium offers festive … Continued

What’s On in 2019 at Blenheim Palace

Exhibitions New for 2019 Blenheim Palace are hosting a temporary Turner Exhibition, ‘The Art of Perspective: JMW Turner’s early architectural … Continued