A TOUR OF HORACE WALPOLE’S STRAWBERRY HILL
During Walpole’s lifetime, Strawberry Hill was a popular tourist attraction and was shown on request between May and October, but restricted to one party of four people a day. While Walpole himself conducted tours for important visitors, including members of the royal family, he came to dread the public attention and retreated to his cottage in the flower garden while the house was shown by the housekeeper, Ann Bransom. Walpole issued printed tickets for visiting Strawberry Hill in 1774 only; he otherwise wrote notes of admission to his housekeeper, after 1784 often on the printed rules for admission. The inscription on the rules illustrated here reads: “June 24 1784 To Mr. Walpole’s Housekeeper; You may show my House on Friday morning next to Mr. Panton and Three more, on their delivering this to you, Hor. Walpole.”
This web tour is composed of eighteenth-century views of Strawberry Hill following the sequence established by Walpole’s Description of the Villa. Not all the rooms are included as the sequence is based on the availability of room views which survive from the many drawings and watercolors of the house and gardens commissioned by Walpole himself from a range of artists, including Johann Heinrich Müntz (1727–1798), Thomas (bap. 1723, d. 1798) and Paul Sandby (bap. 1731, d. 1809), John Carter (1748–1817) and Edward Edwards (1738–1806), among others. Each room is located by a dot on an accompanying ground plan adapted from those published in the 1784 edition of the Description. These artists have generally provided quite accurate and detailed inventories of rooms and the collections within. Links to more detailed account of objects visible in each room are accessible in two ways: by clicking the mouse over that object as depicted in the room view or by clicking the object in the list provided of items from that room.