Future Events

An exhibition at Blenheim Palace in the company of Hugo Vickers

Thursday 27th February 2020

We have been given the marvellous opportunity to visit Blenheim Palace with Hugo Vickers, where he will give a talk in the Spencer Churchill Room on the current exhibition ‘Let’s Misbehave’ – Blenheim Palace in the 1920’s.

Hugo’s talk will give particular emphasis to Gladys Deacon. Gladys, when she was 40, achieved her teenage wish to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American, Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys captivated and inspired some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the time.

Proust famously wrote of her “I never saw a girl of such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm”. Sadly, her life at Blenheim was not a success and for many years the only remaining signs of Gladys were the sphinxes bearing her features on the West Terrace and her mysterious blue eyes painted on the Grand Portico.

The exhibition, in the Palace’s State Rooms, gives an in-depth portrayal of this colourful decade through the eyes of the 9th Duke of Marlborough and Gladys. They naturally had an extensive and varied circle of friends, encompassing all the powerful and sometimes eccentric characters of the 20’s from Winston Churchill to the Bloomsbury Group. The Exhibition showcases their lavish lifestyle and exuberant house parties, and will feature works by artists and sculptors as eclectic as Boldini, Cecil Beaton, Jacob Epstein and Duncan Grant.

Blenheim Palace

Joyous Gardening
From Start to Finish

Monday, 30th March 2020

The Tapestry Hall, Boughton House

by kind permission of the Duke of Buccleuch

Griselda Kerr

Griselda has created her garden at the Dower House, Melbourne with enormous energy and enthusiasm over the last 20 years. She describes herself as ‘always thinking about plants’, and those who visited with us in June 2018 will know what an inspiration her garden is.

She will talk about how her garden evolved, the importance of giving plants the attention that will help them to flourish and the joy to be found in the changing seasons. Griselda feels that gardening should be intuitive, releasing, and invigorating, and a place where plants seem happy to have met.

Griselda has recently drawn from her years of gardening knowledge and experience to write The Apprehensive Gardener. This book was written to understand what could be done to help a plant thrive. It was designed for constant quick reference, and as a practical guide for new and more experienced gardeners on the care of more than 700 garden plants.

Griselda trained in horticulture and garden design at the English Gardening School, Broomfield College and Brooksby College. Her garden is regularly open to the public.  Follow Griselda on Instagram

The lake at the Dower House, Melbourne


In 1910 the artist Alfred East gave Kettering a collection of 70 of his best works, with the condition that the town would build a gallery to house them. Funded by public subscription the Alfred East Gallery was opened in 1913 and now houses a rich and varied collection of over 900 pieces.