Horace Walpole's little gothic castle of Strawberry Hill at Twickenham is a jewel in the suburbs of west London. It was the passion of Walpole, collector, author, dilettante and the youngest son of Britain's first prime minister, who turned it into the most important and influential building of the early gothic revival.
Walpole assembled a large collection of more than 450 pieces of stained glass at Strawberry Hill inspiring a craze among his contemporaries for the setting of ancient glass as a fashionable addition to a home. An early description of the house said that it had the sparkle of `a harlequin's coat chequered with all the colours of the rainbow'. Walpole included heraldic blazons and decorative roundels as well as new commissions from English glaziers such as William Price the Younger and William Peckitt, who were reviving what was considered at that time a lost art.
This eclectic collection of stained glass has been extensively renovated and reset in accordance with Walpole's original intentions, as part of the Strawberry Hill restotation project.
Strawberry Hill, Horace Walpole's gothic castle, has recently been the subject of a £9 million restoration. The fabric of the building has been thoroughly repaired; the interiors conserved and restored, for the most part, to Walpole's evocative eighteenth-century designs. Although, sadly, the river views are no more, the garden has been replanted to complement his gothic fantasy with a lime grove, trailing honeysuckles and orange trees in pots.
For today's visitor, there are two new education rooms, a museum, a discovery room and a documentary film that shows the history and restoration of the house. An archive is available for serious research and Horace Walpole's famous collection is documented on a website created by Yale University (www.library.yale.edu/walpole).
The Strawberry Hill restoration project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, English Heritage, The World Monuments Fund and many other generous trusts and individuals.
Number Of Pages: 48
Published: 1st August 2010
Publisher: Scala Publishers Ltd
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 19.0 x 16.5 x 0.64
Weight (kg): 0.15