Drawing together landscape, architecture and literature, Strawberry Hill, the celebrated eighteenth-century ’Gothic’ villa and garden beside the River Thames, is an autobiographical site, where we can read the story of its creator, Horace Walpole. This 'man of taste' created private resonances, pleasure and entertainment - a collusion of the historic, the visual and the sensory. Above all, it expresses the inseparable integration of house and setting, and of the architecture with the collection, all specific to one individual, a unity that is relevant today to all architects, landscape designers and garden and country house enthusiasts. Avoiding the straightforward architectural description of previous texts, this beautifully illustrated book reveals the Gothic villa and associated landscape to be inspired by theories that stimulate 'The Pleasures of the Imagination' articulated in the series of essays by Joseph Addison (1672-1719) published in the Spectator (1712). Linked to this argument, it proposes that the concepts behind the designs for Strawberry Hill are not based around architectural precedent but around eighteenth-century aesthetics theories, antiquarianism and matters of 'Taste'. Using architectural quotations from Gothic tombs, Walpole expresses the mythical idea that it was based on monastic foundations with visual links to significant historical figures and events in English history. The book explains for the first time the reasons for its creation, which have never been adequately explored or fully understood in previous publications. The book develops an argument that Walpole was the first to define theories on Gothic architecture in his Anecdotes of Painting (1762-71). Similarly innovative, The History of the Modern Taste in Gardening (1780) is one of the first to attempt a history and theory of gardening. The research uniquely evaluates how these theories found expression at Strawberry Hill. This reassessment of the villa and its associated l
Dr Marion Harney is Director of Studies, Conservation of Historic Gardens and Cultural Landscapes at theUniversity of Bath, UK.
Prize: Winner of J.B. Jackson book prize by the Foundation for Landscape Studies, 2015 'Based on doctoral research, this well-illustrated book provides new analysis of Horace Walpole’s Strawberry Hill, encompassing his extraordinary mid-eighteenth century house, garden, and collection at Twickenham on London’s Thames River. Harney takes as her thesis the idea that Walpole was influenced by ideas of association and imagination, especially as earlier articulated in Joseph Addison’s celebrated Spectator articles ’The Pleasures of the Imagination’ (1712). Rather than seeing Strawberry Hill as some grotesque Gothick precursor to later, more strident and archaeologically correct Gothic Revival, Harney argues for a reappraisal of Walpole’s ensemble as a carefully integrated and philosophically cogent epresentation of his aesthetic beliefs.' Australian Garden History '... Marion Harney has given us much to ponder, particularly in the field of architecture. She explores the complex relationship between neo-Palladian Houghton (Sir Robert’s house) and Strawberry Hill, and presents an unusually fullaccount of Walpole’s antiquarianism and his travels in search of Gothic. Most importantly, she encourages us to see Walpole’s projects as an imaginative whole.' Garden History 'The subject of this attractive, splendidly illustrated book is Strawberry Hill, the Twickenham country house Walpole transformed into a little Gothic castle to indulge his antiquarian tastes.' Times Literary Supplement