Britain's late Baroque architecture, particularly during the 18th century, was tremendously influenced by the ideas of Andrea Palladio, both for the knowledge of his works such as Villa Rotonda or Villa Godi, as well as for the writings on architecture made by this Italian creator. However, there were some characters and architects of the time, who in their desire to be different from the rest, decided to distance themselves from that palladian current.
Strawberry Hill Gothic Revival Mansion
Possibly the most relevant of these was Horace Walpole (1717 – 1797), son of the English prime minister, and who had a renowned career as a writer. He came to the conclusion that it was absurd to build a country villa in the British countryside on Strawberry Hill following the established schemes of the most Palladian villas. On the other hand, Walpole had on many occasions manifested his tendency towards the romantic and also towards fantastic themes, in fact he was considered quite extravagant.
In that vein he decided to build his house on Strawberry Hill like agothic castle. The work was carried out between 1750 and 1775, and Walpole himself participated in its design with the architects Bentley and Chute. Although it can be said that the works continued practically until thedeath of its owner, since successively it was incorporating new rooms, and above all it was dedicated to never stop adding decorative elements inside. Since there are many chimneys and vaults with medieval airs, as well as stained glass windows inheriting Gothic traditions, and of course a lot of heraldic shields.
On the other hand, Horace Walpole was a compulsive collector, and in some way this mansion was going to become the place to exhibit the infinity of accumulated objects. To get an idea of this huge collection, we must realize that when it went on sale, already in 1842, that auction lasted 32 days.
His contemporaries, once the work was finished, even before, considered it to be quite a rarity, typical of a character who wanted to show off his ostentation and his passion for the old. Although in reality, this kind of whim in which the commissioner, who has money to spare, has a house built as he pleases, without following any style or fashion, can be considered as a true antecedent of what It has been happening in subsequent centuries. And at the same time, and without intending to, since it is somewhat paradoxical, he was also inaugurating a new style, the neogothic, of which multiple examples will later appear in the architecture of theBritish Isles, building even in the 19th century the Parliament of London itself with those forms.