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.