In 1749, English collector and scholar Horace Walpole began building Strawberry Hill, a grand mansion that would house all his treasures. Completed some 30 years later, the fantastical west London villa became a pioneering example of Gothic Revival architecture, where turrets and battlements found in castles were fused with the arched windows and stained glass of Gothic cathedrals. Since 2007, the home has been leased by the Strawberry Hill Trust, which has been spearheading a thorough restoration of the place. In October 2010, Strawberry Hill reopened to the public after a two-year, $13M restoration. And earlier this month, the estate reopened again after a second stage of restorations. This time, guests will be able to see a few rooms that have never been publicly accessible before, including Walpole's bedroom, where he had the dream that would inspire him to write The Castle of Otranto, widely accepted as the Gothic novel.
According to the Guardian, recreating the rooms in Strawberry Hill took an incredible amount of effort and money (which was pooled together from grants, charities, and other public donations.) Newly-restored wallpaper, for example, were "paper hand-made in northern Ireland, hand-dyed in the United States, and hand-flocked in England." Other painstaking additions include a recreated medieval painting of jousting knights and a modern replica of Scottish broadsword.
Since early March, guests have been capturing some pretty stellar details of the home on Instagram, including the wallpaper and mantel in Walpole's bedroom, seen in the first shot below.
· Tour One of England's Most Extraordinary Gothic Revival Mansions [Arch Digest]