WALPOLE, Horace
(b. 1717, London, d. 1797, London)

Exterior view from the south-east

1749-76
Photo
Strawberry Hill, Twickenham, Middlesex

In the 1740s, Horace Walpole bought a small country seat in Twickenham near London, beside the Thames, which over some 30 years he converted into his "little Gothic castle." Over the period, it developed into an asymmetrical, charming architectural cluster that put into effect the principles of the picturesque for the first time. The richly articulated exterior, with its projections and recessions, gables, towers and pinnacles and pointed arches, quatrefoil windows and battlements, was intended to imitate the evolved layout of a medieval structure.

Horace Walpole and his friends, who formed a "committee of taste," provided the original house (to the right in the picture) with polygonal bay windows, and built an adjoining two-storey wing with buttresses, which contains "cloisters" downstairs and a gallery upstairs. As a terminal feature, they added a large round tower. The wing on the left dates from the 19th century.