Horace Walpole, by Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1756, NPG
It was that year I attended an exhibition at the V and A in London feautring items from the collections of Horace Walpole -- long ago dispersed by sale and auction. Many of them had been acquired by the Lewis Walpole Collection in Farmington, Connecticut, which is part of the Yale University Library system. In 2011, I visited Strawberry Hill, Walpole's restored villa in Twickenham. See my post here
Library, Strawberry Hill, 2011
Recently, I discovered the wonderful blog that the Lewis Walpole Collection publishes, with pictures from their acquisitions of 18th C. letters, diaries, books, pictures, caricatures, and other objects. Be careful or you will lose HOURS enjoying their blog
and their website.
You can also enjoy their Facebook page
and receive frequent updates.
W.S. and Annie Burr Lewis, ca. 1928
The Library was founded by Wilmarth Sheldon Lewis (1895-1979) and his wife Annie Burr Lewis (1902-1959). It began with W. S. Lewis's collections of Walpole's correspondence and continued as a lifetime activity, among many others, of the couple.
One of their caricatures, posted on Facebook when a snowstorm required the library to close temporarily; I love this sense of humor!
Here, FYI, is a brief description, from their website:
"The Lewis Walpole Library, a department of the Yale University Library since 1980, is an internationally recognized research collection in the field of British eighteenth-century studies. Its unrivalled collection of Walpoliana includes half the traceable volumes from Horace Walpole's famous library at Strawberry Hill and many letters and other manuscripts by him. The Library's book and manuscript collections, numbering over 32,000 volumes, cover all aspects of eighteenth-century British culture."
barn, recently built
"The Library is also home to the largest and finest collection of eighteenth-century British graphic art outside the British Museum; its 35,000 satirical prints, portraits, and topographical views are an incomparable resource for visual material on many facets of English life of the period.
Located in Farmington, Connecticut, forty miles north of New Haven and within easy distance of Boston and New York, the Lewis Walpole Library's collections also include drawings, paintings, and furniture, all housed on a 14-acre campus with four historically important structures and extensive grounds. The Library runs an active fellowship program and sponsors conferences, lectures, and exhibitions in cooperation with other Yale libraries and departments."
I will be off to Europe in a couple of weeks, during which visit I intend to visit Houghton Hall, the home of Horace's father, Sir Robert Walpole (1676-1745), England's first Prime Minister. After his death, his collection of Old Master paintings was also dispersed by heirs, mostly sold to Catherine the Great of Russia. The website is here.
I will report further in the coming months.