Published in 1774, ‘A Description of the Villa’ of Horace Walpole forms a comprehensive record of the contents of Strawberry Hill House.

Famous paintings include The Ladies Waldegrave by Reynolds, now housed at the National Gallery of Scotland and portraits of Thomas Gray and Walpole himself by John Giles Eccardt, now hung in the Blue Bedchamber on loan from the National Portrait Gallery.

Further artworks included Walpole’s collection of miniatures by Holbein, Hilliard and Isaac Oliver, which he considered to be ‘the largest and finest in any country’. Walpole’s ceramic collection comprised over 1200 pieces, ranging from ancient Greek pots, Renaissance maiolica to modern porcelain.

Walpole also harboured a special interest in the collection of historical oddities, such as James I’s gloves, King William III’s spurs worn to the Battle of the Boyne, Cardinal Wolsey’s hat and a lock of Edward IV’s hair ‘cut from his corpse in St George’s Chapel at Windsor’.

Following the Great Sale of 1842, Walpole’s collection was dispersed worldwide. In the early 20th Century American collector, Wilmarth Lewis, gathered as much Walpoliana as he could and bequeathed his collection to Yale University. This can still be visited today in the Lewis Walpole Library, USA.



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