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John Vanbrugh

Sir John Vanbrugh (1664-1726) was an English architect and dramatist, probably best known as the designer of Blenheim Palace.

Vanbrugh was born in London but educated in France, where his Protestant family originated. After military service which included a period of imprisonment in the Bastille for spying, he became a successful playwright with The Relapse (1696), a great hit on the London stage. His works were mostly comedies, and he joined William Congreve to manage the Haymarket[?] Theatre in the West End. Vanbrugh became a leading exponent of Restoration comedy. In 1702, he added the title of architect to his CV with his design for Castle Howard, and this led to his being selected as the architect of Blenheim. Although his plans were unpopular with many (including Sarah Churchill, its future resident), it was eventually completed, and Vanbrugh became Comptroller of Royal Works in 1714.

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