In case you’ve not yet seen it, you’ve still got a few weeks left to visit the Lost Treasures of Strawberry Hill exhibition. “And what, pray tell, is this?” you might be saying to yourself (if you talk in a slightly weird, old fashioned way). Well, Horace Walpole who designed and built his ‘gothic revival castle’ in 1747, put together a large, unique collection of artwork, sculpture and other artefacts over many years. After Walpole’s death in 1797 the house passed to his cousin and then into the family of his great-niece, the Waldegraves. In 1842 a great sale dispersed Walpole’s extensive collection far and wide.
Cut to the present and after painstaking research by the House to track down these lost treasures using the original sale catalogue, Walpole’s own detailed descriptions and support from the Lewis Walpole Library at Yale University, many of them have been brought back to the House and reunited for a special exhibition which has been running since October. The result? For the first time in over 170 years, Strawberry Hill can be seen as Walpole himself conceived it, with the original collection in the interiors he designed for it. Among the items exhibited you will find portraits by Sir Joshua Reynolds, Allan Ramsay, Rubens, Van Dyck (Anthony not Dick) and Hans Holbein; miniature portraits by Isaac and Peter Oliver, a carved Roman eagle from the 1st century AD; several pieces of furniture and many other curiosities.
Lost Treasures of Strawberry Hill is open every day and runs until 24th February 2019. Go. It’s a unique opportunity to see the House as Walpole might have seen it.