Walpole and the ancient world

In this fourth instalment of our special blog series, we continue to follow art historian and provenance researcher, Silvia Davoli, on the trail of the lost treasures of Strawberry Hill House. Silvia unearths some astonishing finds when she delves deeper into Walpole’s collection of antique artefacts and explores his fascination with the ancient world.

Rome, February 1740. A young Horace Walpole arrives and I imagine the late winter sun illuminating his face, earnest and flushed with anticipation as he trawls the city for fashionable parties and collectible antiques. Continue reading

The mystery of the painting that inspired ‘The Castle of Otranto’

In this third instalment of our special blog series, we continue to follow art historian and provenance researcher, Silvia Davoli’s quest to find the lost treasures of Strawberry Hill House. Formerly the home of Horace Walpole in the 18th century, Strawberry Hill House was emptied of Walpole’s celebrated art collection when it was scattered 200 years ago. Silvia is now sifting through archives and searching museums in every corner of the globe to uncover the lost treasures in a bid to restore them to Strawberry Hill. Can you help her in her quest?

When we last left Silvia, she was on the hunt for the lost dagger of King Henry VIII. We rejoin her now in her quest to find another lost treasure of Strawberry Hill House, a painted portrait which inspired a gothic ghost story.  Continue reading

The Lost Dagger of Henry VIII

In this second instalment of our special blog series, we continue to follow art historian and provenance researcher, Silvia Davoli’s quest to find the lost treasures of Strawberry Hill House. Formerly the home of Horace Walpole in the 18th century, Strawberry Hill House was emptied of Walpole’s celebrated art collection when it was scattered 200 years ago. Silvia is now sifting through archives and searching museums in every corner of the globe to uncover the lost treasures in a bid to restore them to Strawberry Hill. Can you help her in her quest?

Charles Kean turns the dagger over and over in his hands, rubies burn red like flames lapping at the handle. Visions of its former owner,  Henry VIII leap into his imagination, the great mountain of a king cutting a monumental figure in ermine and gold brocade, bejewelled fist clasping a dagger as in the portrait after Hans Holbein the Younger. Continue reading

The Search Begins…

Ever wondered what it takes to unearth long lost artworks? What kind of detective work is required to retrace treasured antiques and objets d’art scattered two hundred years ago? This is the fate that befell the celebrated collection of antiquarian and man of letters, Horace Walpole, once displayed in his home, Strawberry Hill House. Centuries on, this special blog series first will follow art historian and provenance researcher, Silvia Davoli, in her hunt for the lost treasures of Strawberry Hill and her bid to restore Walpole’s collections to his legendary gothic rooms. Continue reading