A Portrait of Horace Walpole as a Child by William Hogarth

We are delighted to announce that following the incredible support shown by so many generous donors, the William Hogarth portrait of Horace Walpole as a child has now arrived at Strawberry Hill House.

This rare and significant painting, depicts the young Horace in a landscape showing a sundial with a Cupid statue pointing to the Roman numeral X (ten) on the dial. The playful spaniel in the foreground is one of a long line owned by Horace throughout his life.

Commissioned by Horace’s father, Sir Robert Walpole (1676-1745), the first British Prime Minister, when his youngest son was aged 10, this portrait is of exceptional interest for two reasons – it is the earliest surviving oil portrait of Walpole, and a rare example of Hogarth’s early mature pictorial work. It also is the earliest-known commissioned picture of an identifiable sitter by Hogarth and his first-known portrait of a child.

William Hogarth was an English painter and engraver who played a crucial part in establishing an English school of painting, both through the quality of his painting and campaigns to improve the status of artists in England. This portrait was commissioned from Hogarth when he was at the very outset of his career and Horace was a pupil at Eton.

Walpole and Hogarth are among the most defining figures in Georgian society. Their works and many achievements have contributed to shape a certain idea of ‘Britishness’, in the literary and artistic fields worldwide. Walpole was himself an enthusiastic collector of Hogarth, whom he described as “a great and original genius.”

Many of Hogarth’s early works and much of Walpole’s library, archive and art collection have been acquired by institutions and private collections overseas, which is why this acquisition by Strawberry Hill House & Garden is all the more significant.

Included in general admission



On behalf of us all at Strawberry Hill House, thank you to everyone who has helped the House to acquire this remarkable painting.

We would not have been successful in acquiring this remarkable painting were it not for our main funders and many supporters through our Art Happens public appeal.

Grateful thanks to our supporters

Acceptance in Lieu & Cultural Gifts Scheme, Arts Council England
Art Fund
Art Fund, Art Happens, Appeal Supporters
National Heritage Memorial Fund
Private Donors
Strawberry Hill House Members, Patrons and Volunteers


Image Credit: William Hogarth (1697-1784) Portrait of Horace Walpole, later 4th Earl of Orford (1717 – 1797) aged 10, 1727 – 28.

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