Magazine
Latest Issue

The dandy of Strawberry Hill

A celebrity of the 18th century, Horace Walpole divided polite society. Now the re-opening of his home and a show at the V&A will restore his reputation, says Duncan Fallowell

By Duncan Fallowell   February 2010

A touch of paganism in the boudoir: an ornate gallery designed by Thomas Pitt between 1759 and 1762 at Strawberry Hill

At the end of 1764 literature’s first horror story, The Castle of Otranto, was published in London under disguise. It was an immediate success, despite its fatuousness, and has never since been out of print. It didn’t take long before its author was obliged bashfully to step forward: Horace Walpole, man of fashion, antiquarian, member of the House of Commons, unwavering bachelor and youngest of the five children of Sir Robert Walpole.

Otranto established a genre, the gothic novel,…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to letters@prospect-magazine.co.uk

More From Prospect