Gothic Revival – Strawberry Hill House
Strawberry Hill House is a little treasure estate in Twickenham (London, England) that was built in the spirit of Gothic Revival in the 18th century – on the commission of Horace Walpole (son of Britain`s first PM and author of the first English language gothic novel, The Castle of Otranto) for summer residence after purchasing the site in 1747.
The villa was a tourist attraction even during Walpole`s time thanks to it`s architecture and art collection. Following his death in 1797, the house was passed onto descendants of his family members. In 1842, most of the art collection was sold off by the Seventh Earl of Waldegrave, whose widow Lady Frances Waldegrave worked to restore and expand the building from 1856, staying true to the vision of Walpole. Strawberry Hill is now owned and ran by St Mary`s University College with the work of their super friendly and informative volunteer staff, and you can read more about its history on the website.
I spent a hot summer afternoon there trying to imagine what it was like when the property still had a view onto the River Thames and the surrounding environment – but most importantly how the art works of the Walpole Collection are now very missing from essence of this building`s interior. They are now either scattered around the world or lost in history forever…Despite its sad, more or less empty state, this villa is still a delight to visit for historical estate enthusiasts like me and it is worth having lunch at its cafe, or simply read and have a picnic in the garden.
- 18th century
- 19th century
- gothic revival
- horace walpole
- lady fances walpole
- st marys university college
- strawberry hill house