21 November 2010

A morning at Strawberry Hill House

I remember seeing pictures of Horace Walpole's Strawberry Hill House back when I was a kid.  When I realized that our friends' new place in Kew was in the same neck of the woods and that the house has been recently restored, it seemed like a fun thing to do. It turned out to be somewhat interesting. They are doing a meticulous job in the restoration, but still have a ways to go and haven't furnished it yet. Plus, they had not one copy of Walpole's The Castle of Otranto in the giftshop.

The arches swing out, that's how you get the books back there.

Much more fun with books.

John documenting himself.

Give me my money!


  1. This is on my own list of places to visit in London after the fascinating V&A exhibition. The gorgeous photos inspire me to go even more!

  2. Especially like the arches that swing out! Had always wondered with similar designs how that might work. Ingenious. Also like your tiny caption under last photo. :)

  3. The pictures from your trips are always excellent but these are extraordinary. It's hard to photograph fog effectively but John has done it.

  4. I love that little sculpture of the goat. Is it holding a shield?

  5. I'm adding this to my very long list of places to go next time I'm in London! I'm surprised they didn't have The Castle of Otranto in the giftshop though.

  6. LOVE all the pictures! Thanks so much for sharing them with us. (and those from John Sandoe as well)

  7. I could look at pictures of architectural detail until my eyes popped out! You're doing a great job of helping me plan my next trip, Thomas!

  8. I think Strawberry Hill is mentioned in Emma Donoghue's book Life Mask, with Horace Walpole as a minor character in it. It's a beautiful house. (What was in the giftshop then anyways??)

  9. there's a historic house near me (it's called Beauport) -- one of my favorite places -- which has a Strawberry Hill-inspired room, so it's nice to learn more about the original. I love those arches!

  10. Those bookshelves are pretty amazing and ingenius. Big words for a big idea! I think I prefer it ungilded but hey, what do I know?

  11. Wilmarth S. Lewis wrote a memoir called "Collector's Progress" about amassing his Horace Walpole collection. Really good, should you ever run out of things to read...

  12. Donna: Alas we didn't have time for the V&A on that trip. I love that place.

    Frances: That last photo is like Walpole meets Fox's "Family Guy".

    Mary: He is my little Ansel Adams.

    Jeane: It is a shield. There was one of these on each level of the staircase balustrade.

    Helen: Takes a bit of effort to get to it.

    Susan: There would have been more photos if there hadn't been so many tourists in the way.

    Darlene: I hope they don't pop out.

    Carolyn: The gift shop had a fairly nice quality of typical gift shop notions and some books on gothic architecture.

    Audrey: I must look up Beauport.

    Stefan: I agree about the gilding. The room with the gilding is actually done in papier mache not plaster (as was the original).

  13. Sarah: Just the title of Collector's Progress makes it sound very interesting.

  14. I spent the first 25 years of my life living half a mile from Strawbery Hill House. I've walked past it thousands of times.

    But have I set foot in the place? No.

    I know that it's only just been reopened, but it seems ridiculous. I shall have to plan a visit.


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