(b. ca. 1720, Kepyer, d. 1775, London)

Exterior view

begun 1749
Strawberry Hill, Twickenham, Middlesex

William Robinson built Horace Walpole a light-hearted neo-Gothic country house at Strawberry Hill. Horace Walpole (Horatio Walpole, 4th Earl of Orford, 1717-1797), an English art historian, man of letters, antiquarian and Whig politician, acquired the land by 1749.

The most important feature of the country house was the gallery with fan vaulting, the work of Thomas Pitt. Thomas Pitt, 1st Baron Camelford (1737-1793) was a British politician, amateur architect and connoisseur of art. From March 1762 Pitt lived at Twickenham, and he was there the neighbour of Horace Walpole, who recognised his skill in Gothic architecture, and went so far as to call him "my present architect." The gallery had been modeled on Henry VII's chapel at Westminster Abbey.

Walpole's house, regarded by contemporaries as a curiosity partly because of its largely frivolous interpretation of medieval form, was subsequently recognized as an important precursor of the more accurate reproductions the nineteenth-century Gothic Revival. The building is a good example of the way in which the vision of an amateur architect influenced architectural history in England.