Horace Walpole’s Strawberry Hill

Thursday, October 15, 2009
Sunday, January 3, 2010

Horace Walpole (1717–1797) was the youngest son of Robert Walpole, first earl of Orford and prime minister under both George I and George II. Horace’s birthright placed him at the center of society and politics, and of literary, aesthetic, and intellectual circles. His brilliant letters and other writings have made him the best-known commentator on social, political, and cultural life in eighteenth-century England. In his own day, he was most famous for his personal collections, which were displayed at Strawberry Hill, his pioneering Gothic-revival house on the banks of the Thames at Twickenham, outside London, and through which he constructed narratives of English art and history.

This groundbreaking exhibition sought to evoke the breadth and importance of Walpole’s collections at Strawberry Hill by reassembling an astonishing variety of his objects, including rare books and manuscripts, antiquities, paintings, prints and drawings, furniture, ceramics, arms and armor, and curiosities. They were drawn from international public and private collections as well as those of the Center and Yale’s Lewis Walpole Library in Farmington, Connecticut.

Johann Heinrich Müntz, Strawberry Hill, Twickenham, from the South (detail), ca. 1755-59, oil on canvas, The Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University

Horace Walpole’s Strawberry Hill
was organized by the Center, the Lewis Walpole Library, and the Victoria and Albert Museum. The exhibition was curated by Michael Snodin, Research Fellow at the Victoria and Albert Museum and Chairman of the Strawberry Hill Trust; the organizing curators at Yale were Cynthia Roman, Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Paintings at the Lewis Walpole Library, and Eleanor Hughes, Assistant Curator of Exhibitions and Publications at the Center.

The exhibition was generously supported by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.


Yale Center for British Art:
October 15, 2009–January 3, 2010

Victoria and Albert Museum:
March 6–July 4, 2010