Sources: Horace Walpole, 4th Earl of Orford


Walpole, Horace: The letters of Horace Walpole, Earl of Orford. London, 1840. 6 v.


Horace Walpole, 4th Earl of Orford (1717-1797), was a noted author, historian, connoisseur, and amateur architect. He was a member of the House of Commons from 1741 to 1768, and was a keen observer of politics and society. Though his Anecdotes of Painting in England (1762-63 4 v.) is still useful to art historians, and the Castle of Otranto (1764) is a minor landmark in literary history, being the first Gothic novel in English, Walpole's fame now rests on his letters, of which over 3,000 survive. Historically, they are 18th century England's truest record, portraying social life, public affairs, and contemporary arts and letters with wit, vividness, and accuracy. As an architect, he is most famous for his country house Strawberry Hill, near Twickenham, which he remodeled into a miniature Gothic castle.

Horace Walpole (about 1757)

Horace Walpole. Engraving by James McArdell after the portrait by Joshua Reynolds (1757). In: Walpole, Horace: Horace Walpole's Correspondence. New Haven, CT, 1937. v. 1, plate facing p. 64.


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