Blenheim Palace paintings explore ‘nostalgic fantasies of British stately home’

Huge paintings are on display at Blenheim Palace, exploring “nostalgic fantasies of the British stately home”.

Cecily Brown – best known for her large, vivid paintings – is the subject of a solo exhibition, examining the 18th century palace’s history as an English country estate.

The Triumph of Death at Blenheim Palace
The Triumph of Death at Blenheim Palace

Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire was Winston Churchill’s birthplace and was the scene of the theft of a golden toilet last year.

Brown’s new work is described as “charged reinterpretations of pastoral imagery, hunting scenes and bucolic Victorian fairy painting” and explores “the nostalgic fantasies of the British stately home in the popular imagination”.

The British artist, who lives in the US, said she wanted “to look at Britain now”, adding that it was “thrilling for me to make work with England as its subject”.

“My work has always dealt with conflict and turbulence, both in content and in a physical way.

The wait is over… Cecily Brown's major solo exhibition at @BlenheimPalace opens today!

Get a glimpse behind-the-scenes in this video and book your visit today at

— Blenheim Palace (@BlenheimPalace) September 17, 2020

“I thought about an idealised vision of England and the contradiction between that and the reality of a nation in turmoil.

“Blenheim Palace seems the perfect situation in which to display images of a broken country, conflicted about its future and its place in the world.”

Michael Frahm, director of the Blenheim Art Foundation, said the exhibition “continues to push the boundaries of how contemporary art can be shown at a heritage site and will be a further new experience for our visitors.”

The exhibition runs until January 3.