Walpole as Designer (Public lecture, 17th October)

Image credit: Design for the Ceiling in the Library at Strawberry Hill, by Horace Walpole (1754). Reproduced courtesy of the Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University.

Enter the marvellous world of Strawberry Hill, a revolutionary neo-Gothic house designed by Horace Walpole, at this free public lecture on 17th October at 18.15, in Elvet Riverside 141. This is the second talk in our Walpole and His Legacies series, and will be given by architectural and design historian, Peter N. Lindfield (University of Stirling).

Horace Walpole’s little Gothic castle, Strawberry Hill, Twickenham, a villa that he framed as the ‘Castle of my ancestors’, has been subject to repeated study over the past century. His infamous ‘Strawberry Committee’, incorrectly known as the ‘Committee of Taste’, was a group of male friends tasked with designing the house’s various facets, including its exterior and interior architecture, architectural decoration, and furniture. Walpole himself was at the helm of this architectural project: he actively approved of, rejected, or referred designs for reworking. He has been treated as the supervising authority regulating the house’s development, rather than a designer in his own right. What has emerged recently is that Walpole was actively generating proposals for the house, especially its internal architectural decoration, and furniture.

This lecture presents and marshals Walpole’s designs for the house, almost all of which were unexecuted. It illustrates how Walpole’s involvement in Strawberry Hill’s design responded to, but also reacted against, the proposals offered by his Strawberry Committee.

All members of the public are warmly welcome to this lecture series, looking at one of the most influential writers and thinkers of the eighteenth century. Booking is not required. Join the conversation online via #WalpoleLegacies, and find this event on Facebook.

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