Strawberry Hill House in Twickenham, created by Horace Walpole in the 18th century, is in a race to raise enough money to purchase a rare and highly significant portrait of Horace Walpole as a child, painted by William Hogarth.

The Gothic revival house, now a museum, needs to raise the remaining £12,000 by Thursday 14th April to secure the painting for its collection.

(c) Strawberry Hill House

The return of the painting will be significant as not only is of Walpole himself, but most of the original art collection was sold off over the years, so there’s very little in the building from its original days. Thus the acquisition of this painting will go some way to filling that gaping void in its collection.

They are offering a crowdfunding scheme, so you can buy gifts in exchange for a donation:

  • £15 = A set of 8 postcards featuring images of Horace Walpole’s ‘little gothic castle’
  • £25 = An exclusive tote bag featuring Horace Walpole’s famously coined word ‘Serendipity’
  • £60 = Postcards, print + tote bundle
  • £100 = Exclusive guided tour

This portrait is of also exceptional interest for two other reasons – it is the earliest surviving oil portrait of Walpole, and a rare example of Hogarth’s early mature pictorial work. It also is the earliest-known commissioned picture of an identifiable sitter by Hogarth and his first-known portrait of a child.

To support the campaign, go here.

Strawberry Hill House says that they’ve been given the opportunity to acquire the painting from a private collection through a hybrid Acceptance in Lieu, administered by the Arts Council. The National Heritage Memorial Fund has contributed £115,000 and the Art Fund has offered £90,000, leaving them £25,000 to be raised by 14th April 2022, to meet the total cost of £230,000.

Horace Walpole, son of Britain’s first prime minister grew up to be a politician, writer and influential art collector. His creation, Strawberry Hill in Twickenham, is one of the best-known examples of Gothic Revival architecture in the world, while his literary reputation rests on The Castle of Otranto (acknowledged as the first gothic novel) and over 5,000 letters that provide a commentary on social, political, and cultural life in the 18th century.

(c) Strawberry Hill House


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