The creation of Horace Walpole
built 1698 - present
Surprise and mystery
Horace Walpole the younger son of the Prime Minister, wanted to buy an estate with enough land to build his dream home. He wanted gardens, views to the river and good roads so that friends could visit easily. He found all of these in the house then known as ‘Chopp’d Straw Hall’ in Twickenham. Later it became known as Strawberry Hill.
Walpole loved surprise and mystery and began to turn his new home into a ‘gothic’ castle. He built battlements, chimney pieces, bookcases, painted glass windows, walls and ceilings all decorated with designs from ancient tombs and cathedrals. The house grew and became famous as a fairy castle rising by the Thames.
The great collection
Walpole filled his house with a collection of paintings, prints, books, antiquities, china and many other things that took his fancy. Many years after Walpole died, the contents of the house were sold. His collection was so big it took 32 days to sell everything.