Decision : 32 COM 8B.95
Revision of Statements of Signifiance and Statements Outstanding Universal Value - Blenheim Palace (UK)
The World Heritage Committee,
1. Having examined Documents WHC-08/32.COM/8B.Add and WHC-08/32.COM/INF.8B1.Add,
2. Adopts the following Statement of Significance for Blenheim Palace, United Kingdom:
Blenheim Palace near Oxford was inscribed as a World Heritage Site in 1987 for its architectural importance, as the design and building of the Palace between 1705 and 1722 represented the beginning of a new style of architecture and for its landscaped Park designed by Lancelot 'Capability' Brown which is considered as "a naturalistic Versailles".
In tangible form Blenheim is an outstanding example of the work of John Vanburgh and Nicholas Hawksmoor, two of England's most notable architects. Blenheim represents a unique architectural achievement celebrating the triumph of the English armies over the French. Blenheim and its associated Park has exerted great influence on the English Romantic movement which was characterised by the eclecticism of its inspiration, its return to national sources and its love of nature. The original landscape set out by John Vanburgh who regulated the course of the River Glyme was later modified by Lancelot 'Capability' Brown who created two lakes seen as one of the greatest examples of naturalistic landscape design. Blenheim Palace was built by the nation to honour one of its heroes the first Duke of Marlborough and is also closely associated with Sir Winston Churchill.
Criterion (ii): By their refusal of the French models of classicism, the Palace and Park illustrate the beginnings of the English Romantic movement which was characterised by the eclecticism of its inspiration, its return to national sources and its love of nature. The influence of Blenheim on the architecture and organisation of space in the 18th and 19th centuries was greatly felt in both England and abroad.
Criterion (iv): Built by the nation to honour one of its heroes, Blenheim is, above all, the home of an English aristocrat, the 1st Duke of Marlborough, who was also Prince of the Germanic Holy Roman Empire, as we are reminded in the decoration of the Great Drawing Room by Louis Laguerre (1719-20).
In virtue of this criterion, just like the Residence of Wurzburg (included in 1981) and the Castles of Augustusburg and Falkenlust in Brühl (included in 1984), Blenheim is typical of 18th century European princely residences, a category which is still under-represented on the World Heritage List.
3. Recommends that assessment for statements of authenticity and integrity / statements of protection and management should be postponed to the 33rd session of the World Heritage Committee (2009) awaiting adoption of a methodology and an agreed format for Statements of Outstanding Universal Value for inscribed properties.