Women and Power: Misrepresented?


Cliveden’s a property with a history of powerful females. And, to commemorate the generations of women who have lived and visited here, we’re hosting a year-long programme in 2018 to celebrate their lives.

Throughout 2018, we’re looking at four women who lived at Cliveden and comparing different accounts of them from their contemporaries, the press, and the history books. How did people of their time view them? What legacy have they left behind and how do we see them now with the benefit of hindsight? Have they been portrayed fairly, or have they – like so many others - been misrepresented? 

The women we're looking at from Cliveden's infamous past are;

•    Elizabeth Villers: The Royal Mistress: 1657 – 1733
•    Princess Augusta: The Scheming Princess 1719 - 1772
•    Harriet, Duchess of Sutherland : The Champagne Socialist 1806 – 1868
•    Nancy Astor: The Rattlesnake in the House 1879 - 1964

The Cliveden Suite

British composer and musician Errollyn Wallen will release The Cliveden Suite; a four piece sound installation inspired by the four women of Cliveden. The recordings will be played in Cliveden’s newly conserved Sounding Chamber, one of the oldest remaining spaces on the estate. 

A Room of One’s Own 

For our four Cliveden's women, the gardens were truly ‘rooms of their own’; their space to be creatively fulfilled, independent and reflective. We’ve invited modern day creatives, such as acclaimed writer April De Angelis and 'The Crown' actor Victoria Hamilton, amongst others, to express this sense of freedom Cliveden's women would've felt in these spacious grade 1 listed gardens.

Celebrate the Feminine: Statue Trail

An exploratory self-led trail looking at the representation of femininity in the sculpture at Cliveden. From the athletic deity Diana to the witty soubrette Columbine of Commedia dell'Arte. Trail is on from April until November.

Cliveden’s Women

Within the historic walls of Blenheim Pavilion we're display a selection of local women’s portraits. Filled with the real-life stories from inspiring women, all of whom have a connection to Cliveden, their stories are brought to live by digital art photographer, Ray Higginbottom.