Horace Walpole

The youngest son of Sir Robert Walpole, Horace Walpole created his ‘castle' at Strawberry Hill, Twickenham from 1747 until his death in 1797. The gothic house and naturalistic garden were planned together both for their integrated views and for the contrasts between the two creations. Both are extensively documented in the 48 volumes of his letters. Walpole could be seen as the first ‘garden historian' for his ‘History of the Modern Taste in Gardening' in which he coined the often repeated description of William Kent ‘He leapt the fence and saw all nature was a garden.' He expanded the naturalistic style promoted by Alexander Pope, also in Twickenham, which was popularised by Kent, combining this with an asymmetrical house which he proclaimed to be the epitome of Englishness. Where Pope's shell temple to his mother had been discreetly hidden from more than a passing gaze, Walpole's opulent shell bench sat overlooking the Thames. He largely planned his own planting, and exchanged plants with his friends. The garden was exposed to public viewing from the river, but this gave him a borrowed landscape that extended to the foot of Richmond Hill. His carefully chosen correspondents included the Revd. William Mason.

Bibliography

Walpole, Horace, (1995), The History of the Modern Taste in Gardening, (Ursus Press, New York)

The Yale Edition of Horace Walpole's Correspondance, (1937-83), (New Haven: Yale University Press)

Brownell, Morris, (2001), The Prime Minister of Taste. A Portrait of Horace Walpole (Yale University Press, New Haven and London)

ed. Snodin, Michael, (2009) Horace Walpole's Strawberry Hill, (Yale Centre for British Art, Victoria and Albert Museum, in association with Yale University Press, New Haven and London)

Chalcraft, Anna and Viscardi, Judith, (2007), Strawberry Hill. Horace Walpole's Gothic Castle, (Frances Lincoln).

Associated Places