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  • image SM volume 166, fo. 6

Reference number

SM volume 166, fo. 6


Preliminary design for plan of the palace, now bound in a volume of warrants and accounts for Blenheim Palace.


2 Plan of raised ground floor of palace; and on verso faint sketched plan, in pencil, of part of a long symmetrically arranged building, possibly a service courtyard.


10 ft to 9/16 inches approx (100 feet to 5 7/8 inches)


On verso with voluminous accounts, relating to charges for coal in the period 1727 to 1740, beginning top left: Coales from ye 10 Sepr to April 26: 1740: Due 36 : 5 : 2 / 156: 16 - 0 / 193 . 1 . 2. The accounts below these figures deal with receipts and expenditure relating to coal deliveries, including the title (l.h. side): Cash paid from ye 10 Sept:r 1707. At top right of verso are the words Sho.s Wiggs struck through. See also Notes, below.

Signed and dated

  • 1704-05

Medium and dimensions

Pen and brown ink over incised lines, with small pencil sketch of corner detail, bottom left centre. Pencil on verso, with brown ink inscriptions. 290 x 470, folded on two sides to fit as within the account book for Blenheim Palace, in which the sheets are 240 x 383.


Henry Joynes (Clerk of Works at Blenheim Palace).


Fleur de lys / GP.


The account book in which this drawing has been bound is a collection of papers that may not have been bound for the first time until the early 19th century. It has an inscribed sheet pasted on an early 19th-century marbled front end-paper: An Acco:t Of the Money issued & expended about the Purchase and Buildings at Blenheim. This is repeated on the first folio. The second folio is blank. The third folio has, on the recto and verso, copies of two warrants for expenditure at Blenheim signed by Sidney Lord Godolphin on 13 February and 17 March 1704/05 respectively. The fourth and fifth folio are a single document, a summary account schedule, dated 24 October 1715, inscribed on folio 4, recto, at the top, Estimate of the Debts on Acco:t of her late Mats Civil List at the time of her Demise [...]. The sixth folio is the drawing. The remaining thirteen inscribed folios are copies are further warrants for expenditure for Blenheim Palace in the period 1705 to 1711, and, on folios 11v. to 13r. an overall summary of receipts and expenditure on Blenheim dated (at 12v.) 14 December 1711. The binding of the account book is early-mid nineteenth century.

The plan itself predates any other known, before the start of construction on 18 June 1705. It probably dates to the early months of 1705, following the Duke of Marlborough's consultation with Vanbrugh on the site of the new palace 'about Christmas', 1704 (see Green 1951, p. 327). It provides for a double-depth portico with paired end-columns and a double-square entrance hall with detached giant columns along the side walls. The garden elevation has a projecting central pavilion with an applied portico of detached columns set in antis between end walls.

The drawings is in Joynes's hand, characterised by neatly ruled shading lines. See Arthur Oswald, Country Life, Sept. 1961.This entry was written with advice from Sir Howard Colvin


There is no previous literature on this important early plan for Blenheim Palace.



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