Biography and History

Horace Walpole was the third son of Sir Robert Walpole. From 1741 to 1747 he was a member of Parliament. In 1747 he acquired a small villa at Twickenham, near London, and transformed it into a Gothic showplace known as Strawberry Hill. Over the years he added cloisters, turrets, and battlements, filled the interior with pictures and curios, and amassed a valuable library. Walpole established a private press on the grounds, where he printed his own works and those of his friends. Strawberry Hill was the stimulus for the Gothic revival in English domestic architecture. Walpole's literary output was extremely varied. The Castle of Otranto (1765), which was first published anonymously, succeeded in restoring the element of romance to contemporary fiction, and his private correspondence of some 4,000 letters constitutes a survey of the history, manners, and taste of his age.

Source: From the finding aid for C1248

  • Horace Walpole Family Collection. 1724-1786 (bulk), 1724-1857 (inclusive).

    Call Number: C1248

    A collection of letters and documents of Horace Walpole, 4th Earl of Orford, the English historian, Member of Parliament, connoisseur, playwright, and novelist, and of his father Sir Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford, who was to become England's longest running Prime Minister.