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A Real Detective Story: Michael Snodin on Strawberry Hill

Chelcey Berryhill - Tuesday March 24, 2015 10:33

Michael Snodin on Strawberry Hill from The Royal Oak Foundation on Vimeo.

On March 23, Michael Snodin, a design and architectural historian and Chairman and Honorable Curator of the Strawberry Hill Trust spoke to a Royal Oak Foundation audience in New York City as part of our Drue Heinz Lecture Series.

Before the lecture, Snodin sat down with Communications Associate Sam McCann to discuss the scattered collection of the Strawberry Hill estate and his role in consolidating the many pieces of fine art that Horace Walpole had gathered during his life.

Strawberry Hill was constructed in the mid-18th century for the politician and author Horace Walpole as a fantasy gothic revival castle just outside London in Twickenham. Walpole’s eclectic collection included portraits by renowned artists, furniture and porcelain sat displayed next to eccentricities such as a lime wood “lace” cravet carved by Grinling Gibbons, embroidered gloves belong to James I, and Dr. Dee’s mirror.

All those magnificent items were dispersed at a 1842 auction. Walpole’s own writing predicted this fate: “My house is of paper like my writings,” he said, ” and both will blow away ten years after I’m dead.”

Snodin’s role is to work as a detective, tracing as many items as he can and finding a way to restore them to their magnificent display at Strawberry Hill. Snodin’s insight into the seemingly impossible job of tracking these long-lost treasures and re-incorporating them into the house, which has been restored to its original appearance from the 1790s.

Don’t miss the rest of Snodin’s lecture, and indeed all our wonderful speakers this Spring 2015 season of Royal Oak’s Drue Heinz lectures. To learn more, please visit www.royal-oak.org/programs

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topics: London