Last Saturday 19 November, 10 members of SocHistColl were able to enjoy an exclusive tour of Horace Walpole’s most extraordinary creation, his villa named Strawberry Hill, guided by its Research Curator Silvia Davoli.
Walpole (1717-1797) was a prominent collector and connoisseur of his time, as well as the inventor of the Gothic Revival. His collection of art played an essential role in the perception of the villa and its unique design. Each room was conceived as a theatrical scene where the objects and the architecture interacted in order to recreate a particular atmosphere. Unfortunately, the collection was dispersed at auction in 1842.
Since 2013 Silvia Davoli has been tracking objects from the dispersed Walpole Collection and has so far retraced over 200 objects. She brought the collector, his collection and the house back to life for us, taking us around the house and unlocking Walpole’s fascinating relationship to objects and his unique place within the history of collecting.
Our next members’ only visit will take place at the National Gallery on Friday 20 January 2017 from 6pm to 8pm. Susanna Avery Quash, Senior Research Curator (History of Collecting), National Gallery, will explore the collections associated with John Julius Angerstein and Sir Charles Eastlake.
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