Strawberry Hill, Horace Walpole’s remarkable eighteenth-century ‘Gothic’ fantasy castle, reopens on 1 March for the 2015 visiting season. After painstaking restoration, private rooms that have never been open to the public, including Walpole’s bedroom and the room in which he died, will be unveiled to visitors.
Walpole bought the four-acre estate at Strawberry Hill (between Twickenham and Richmond) in 1747. Thereafter he radically enlarged both the existing house and grounds, remodelling the former into a Gothic fantasy castle. Part of the interior decoration consisted of the installation of hundreds of panels of displaced stained glass, much of it from the Low Countries. For the first phase of work (1750–1754) Walpole used Mr Palmer, of St Martin’s Lane, to set the panels on plain deeply coloured glass, which showed off the pale roundels to great effect. For a later phase (1759–1761) he called upon William Price the Younger (1703 or 1707–1756), the highly accomplished London glass-painter, who provided richly coloured settings of great sophistication. Following Price’s retirement in 1761, Walpole used the York glazier William Peckitt (1731–1795) to glaze the remainder of the house.
Apart from his collection of stained glass, Walpole was also famous for his extraordinarily eclectic collection of rare books and manuscripts, antiquities, paintings, prints and drawings, furniture, ceramics, arms and armour, and other assorted curiosities.
See the Strawberry Hill website for more information.