The Family of the Duke of Marlborough.
To draw the family of the 9th Duke of Marlborough, Sargent came to Blenheim. “He had to deal with four persons and three dogs, and cover a canvas eleven feet by eight feet. The Duke wore Garter robes, the Duchess a dress Sargent had copied from a Van Dyck
in the Bleiheim collection, their sons were in costumes he also designed, and they were craftily posed in such a way as to disguise the Duchess’s height. His treatment of the dogs was borrowed from Rubens
. His only regret, he explained to Helleu, was that the official nature of this picture meant the Duchess was not allowed to smile. “… her face loses all its charm in this grandiose picture.” (John Singer Sargent. His Portrait.
by Stanley Olson.
Macmillan London Ltd. 1986. p 222)
Charles Richard Spencer-Churchill (1871-1934), 9th Duke of Marlborough, son of George Charles Spencer-Churchill, 8th Duke of Marlborough, and Albertha Hamilton, married Consuelo Vanderbilt in 1895. They had two sons: John Albert William Spencer-Chirchill, 10th Duke of Marlborough, and Lord Ivor Charles Spencer-Churchill. Their marriage was annuled in 1926. <