Visiting Strawberry Hill, home to the 4th Earl of Orford, was like stepping into an era of eccentricities and extravagances. Horace Walpole bought this mansion in 1748 and, with the help of a *commission of taste*, converted it into a Gothic (revival) castle where he used to host his many celebrity friends, including the poet Thomas Gray. His creation together with his many letters offer an example of aristocratic country life in the England of 19th century. Sketch of the house by Walpole…
The dandy of Strawberry Hill
A celebrity of the 18th century, Horace Walpole divided polite society. Now the re-opening of his home and a show at the V&A will restore his reputation, says Duncan Fallowell
Front view of the newly restored Strawberry Hill, home of Horace Walpole, by Roger Williams. Walpole's 'little Gothic castle' has significance as one of the most influential individual buildings of such Rococo "Gothick" architecture which prefigured the later developments of the 19th century Gothic revival, and for increasing the use of Gothic designs for houses. This style has variously been described as Georgian Gothic, Strawberry Hill Gothic, or Georgian Rococo.
The window of the Round Room, Strawberry Hill House. The display of coats of arms dates from the 19th century and is one of the additions made by Lady Waldegrave. Strawberry Hill, a Gothic Revival villa in Twickenham, London, was built by Horace Walpole (beginning in 1749) [2nd of four pins]
Side view of recently renovated Strawberry Hill, the Gothic Revival villa which Horace Walpole built, starting in 1749, in Twickenham, London. He rebuilt the existing house in stages starting in 1749, 1760, 1772, and 1776. These added gothic features such as towers and battlements outside and elaborate decoration inside to create "gloomth" to suit Walpole's collection of antiquarian objects. Walpole's 18th century house prefigured the 19th century gothic revival.
Strawberry Hill to reopen to the public as a museum
Horace Walpole's extraordinary gothic castle is due to welcome the public on 2 October after a £9m, two-year restoration