“I am writing, I am building – both works that will outlast the memory of battles and heroes!…”

Horace Walpole, 1761

Lockdown Letters to Horace: An Art installation
Curated by Charmaine Stimson, Judith North, and Kate Proudman

5 November 2020 – 5 January 2020
Sunday – Thursday, 11am – 4pm

The ‘Write to Horace’ campaign was designed to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the restoration of Strawberry Hill House and to engage with the local community during lockdown, culminating in the ‘Lockdown Letters to Horace: An Art Installation’.

Horace Walpole, man of letters, was a prolific writer, starting at the age of seven and continuing this  passion well into his 70s. He wrote over 7000 letters during his lifetime, as well as the first Gothic novel, The Castle of Otranto and an account of his collection, A Description of the Villa. He even had a private printing press built in the grounds of Strawberry Hill House, the first in England.

Walpole’s letters, which describe the people he met, his local community and his thoughts about the world around him, captured the spirit, issues and wit of the age. During this time of lockdown, in 2020, letter-writing feels more relevant than ever and the humble letter has had a resurgence as people have sought to keep in touch.

This project has inspired people of all ages to ‘Write to Horace’ to share their own stories of how local communities have supported each other during lockdown. These stories, contained in 250 letters, have served as a snapshot of the local area during the decidedly strange times of 2020.

Now Strawberry Hill House is open, visitors will have the opportunity to reflect on the letters via a multimedia installation designed by local artists Charmaine Stimson, Judith North and Kate Proudman. The artists have curated a series of responses to the letters submitted, using film, sound and an installation which spans the House.

The Artists

Charmaine Stimson, Judith North, and Kate Proudman are artists who live and work locally. They studied Fine Art together at the John Cass School of Art in London and are co-founders of One Paved Court gallery, an artist-led space in Richmond.

Booking

Please book in advance, opening times may alter over Christmas and New Year. The installation is included in general admission to the House.

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‘You will do me the justice to own that I had always rather have seen your writing than have shown you mine’

Horace Walpole To Thomas Gray, February 1768

This project was only made possible thanks to public funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

Image credits:
George Perfect Harding, Horace Walpole in His Library. Courtesy of The Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University.

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Strawberry Hill House is internationally famous as Britain’s finest example of Georgian Gothic Revival architecture.