Blenheim’s lost masterpieces
“No one could accuse the Duke of Marlborough of being afraid of a challenge,” says Hannah Furness in The Sunday Telegraph. The 12th Duke, formerly Jamie Blandford, who inherited Blenheim Palace in 2014 after a “colourful” early adulthood, has embarked on an ambitious project to locate and retrieve the hundreds of artworks and books sold by his ancestors over the years. In particular, he wishes to locate works lost in a “famous” 1886 sale, when paintings by Van Dyck (pictured), Titian, Rembrandt, Rubens, Gainsborough, Reynolds, Caravaggio and Holbein were sold at Christie’s to cover death duties. Before the sale, he said, Blenheim had the “best art collection in the Western world”. In 1881, 18,000 books from the palace’s Sunderland Library were sold, making nearly £60,000. Even itemising the lost artefacts will be a decade-long enterprise. “It’s colossal,” said Alexa Frost, the archivist heading the project.