3 hrs 51 mins.
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This series offers a privileged glimpse of five of Britains finest houses, all of which are still in use as family homes and each has a story to tell. They contain some of the great treasures of England and are part of the fabric of the nation.
In Lincolnshire Selina Scott explores Burghley House, built by William Cecil, Lord High Treasurer to Elizabeth I. Burghley s state rooms are filled with treasures including one of the finest collections of17th century Italian masterpieces, an exceptional display of Oriental and European ceramics and fine furniture.
Selina Scott explores Chatsworth House, in Derbyshire, home of the Twelfth Duke of Devonshire. Built by Bess of Hardwick, and altered by the First Duke, Chatsworth is one of the nation s great private homes but is also open to the public.
The Duke of Marlborough talks to Selina Scott about Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, paid for by an act of Parliament in 1705 as thanks from a grateful nation to its greatest warrior, John Churchill, First Duke of Marlborough. Britain s wartime Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, who was born at Blenheim in 1874, is buried in the park at the tiny church of Bladon.
Holkham Hall, in Norfolk is a Palladian masterpiece which was commissioned by Thomas Coke, First Earl of Leicester, and which took over 30 years to build. Coke spent six years touring Europe, and when he returned to Norfolk in 1718 he brought with him works of art, statues, books and manuscripts that now form a unique collection.
Boughton House is the home of The Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry. It is a storehouse of treasures, from tapestries commissioned from the weavers at Mortlake, through gilt tables, to forty works by Van Dyck and cabinets by Andre-Charles Boulle, all in the very best condition.