An incredible facsimile of a key painting from the collection of Horace Walpole has been returned to the Blue Bedchamber at Strawberry Hill – where the original was first displayed in 1754.
Horace Walpole commissioned the impressive double portrait of his parents specifically for the Blue Bedchamber. Houghton Hall, the Walpole's seat in Norfolk, can be seen in the background. The work was designed by Richard Bentley, painted by Wooton and Eccardt, and is displayed in an intricate frame, which Walpole believed to have been carved by Grinling Gibbons. It was first displayed in May 1754 as part of a set, with Horace Walpole's portrait also by Eccardt. No other version of the double portrait was ever painted.
The original now hangs in the Lewis Walpole Library in Farmington, Connecticut, and is far too delicate to travel.
The remarkable facsimile was created by leading technology artists, Factum Foundation, based in Madrid, using innovative 3D scanning and printing. Before being installed at Strawberry Hill on Friday 8th July, the work was displayed at the prestigious art fair, Masterpiece London 2016.
Funds for the project were raised by the fantastically supportive Friends of Strawberry Hill, along with some generous private donations. The work has been gifted to the House in time for the 300th Birthday of Horace Walpole in 2017.
Nick Dolan, Director, Strawberry Hill commented "This is the first of a series of replicas that Factum Arte are creating for Strawberry Hill to replace some key items in Walpole’s collection, which was dispersed world-wide at a great sale in 1842. The Trust has recently faithfully restored Walpole’s gothic villa, but for the most part the rooms are empty. A treasure-hunt is underway to discover the whereabouts of lost items in Walpole’s extensive collection and we are excited to announce that an exhibition of the major works is planned for 2018."
Also displayed in the Blue Bedchamber are paintings of Horace Walpole and Thomas Grey on loan from the National Portrait Gallery and a four-poster bed, (a copy of Sir Robert Walpole’s bed), made by students at London Metropolitan University, with an exquisite coverlet based on an 18th century original in the V&A, hand sewn by the skilled needlewomen of our volunteer Strawberry Hill Sewing Bee.
Visit Strawberry Hill House now to view this stunning painting up close - and see if you can believe it's not the original artwork!
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