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Access to the house by wheelchair or for those who have trouble climbing stairs is made very easy by a purpose built lift installed during the restoration. The only area not accessible is the Library, however staff can provide a short video showing the appearance of the room. Fully accessible toilets are available, as well as a hearing loop in the shop.

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Alison Weir talks about her new book Six Tudor Queens

Wed 18 Oct 2017 7:30 PM  

The lives of Henry VIII’s wives make for dramatic stories. In her current and forthcoming series of novels, Alison Weir offers new insights into the real lives of these six queens, evoking the world of a court dominated by the will of an egomaniacal, suggestible king, and the power politics and ruthlessness that were the reality behind its magnificent façade. She will relate how Henry’s six queens lived a hair’s breadth away from disaster – and how it frequently overtook them. Theirs are grim and tragic stories, set in a lost world of splendour and brutality: a world in which love, or the game of it, dominated, but dynastic pressures overrode any romantic considerations. In this world, one dominated by religious change, there are few saints.


Collectors and the Country House Library

Thu 19 Oct 2017 9:30 AM - 4:30 PM  

The shelves of Horace Walpole’s Library at Strawberry Hill, emptied in the great sale of 1842, have recently been filled with the loan of books from the library of Aske Hall, North Yorkshire. To celebrate this event we are holding a study day on the Country House Library. Particular themes of the study day are the evolution of country house libraries, and especially how the libraries of art collectors such as Walpole support and enrich our understanding of their broader collections. Country house libraries may develop over generations of owners, but they may also strongly reflect the personality and interests of one collector, whether as bibliophile or in the broader history of collections of works of art. We will be looking not only at Walpole, but at a broad range of other collectors and their collections to show how much these libraries can reveal.


9.30–9.50 Coffee

9.50–10.00 Greetings and Housekeeping

10.00–10.25 Paper 1: Megan Aldrich – Saxon or Gothic? An Antiquarian Library at Stowe

10.25–10.50 Paper 2: Stephen Clarke- Quite a paradise of well-conditioned, beautiful books’? Horace Walpole’s Library at Strawberry Hill.

10.50–11.00 Questions

11.00–11.10 Break

11.10–11.55 Mark Purcell keynote paper  The Country House Library

11.55–12.05 Questions

12.05–12.30 paper 3: Claire Reed - The Library at Osterley Park House

12.30–12.35 Questions

12.35–2.15 Lunch and tours of the house

2.15–2.40 Paper 4: Giles Mandelbrote – A Metropolitan Collector: The Library of Sir Richard Ellys (1682-1742) at Blickling Hall

2.40–3.05 Paper 5: David Pearson –Bugs and Bindings: eighteenth-century insect rolls

3.05–3.30 Paper 6: Stephen Lloyd - The Library of the Earls of Derby at Knowsley Hall

3.30–3.45 Questions

Refreshements including a light lunch will be provided.

For further information, please contact claire.leighton@strawberryhillhouse.org.uk

This event is kindly sponsored by the Delmas Foundation


Portraits, Authenticity, and Copies in the 17th and 18th centuries

Thu 2 Nov 2017 9:30 AM - 4:30 PM  

‘Truth is the sole merit of most antiquities; and when we cannot discover the truth, what value is there in dogmatic error about things that have no intrinsic value?—and such were all our pictures before Holbein, and infinitely the greater part of our pictures since!’ (Horace Walpole to Sir John Fenn, in response to a query about a historic portrait, 17 September 1774)

Strawberry Hill was famously full of portraits, many of them collected as part of the broader antiquarian effort to form a narrative of British and European history. In this, as in other fields of painting, there was much less emphasis on the ‘original‘ than there is today. But, as a historian, Horace Walpole was greatly exercised by questions of authenticity, although his own collection of portraits included many later copies, both specially commissioned and unrecognized, as well as misdescriptions and deliberate fakes.

This study day will focus on issues and practices around meaning and authenticity in portraits in the 17th and 18th centuries. It is linked to the recent installation in the Holbein Chamber of digital facsimiles, made by Factum Arte, of George Vertue’s accurate copies, made in 1743, of 33 of Holbein’s famous drawings of the court of Henry VIII. Their acquisition in 1758 prompted Walpole to create the Holbein Chamber, inspired by Queen Caroline’s closet at Kensington Palace, where the original drawings were shown. The Holbein Chamber was in itself a partial facsimile, its ceiling being copied from that of the 16th century Queen’s Closet at Windsor Castle.

Refreshements including a light lunch will be provided.

For further information, including a list of speakers, please contact claire.leighton@strawberryhillhouse.org.uk