Horace Walpole

I left out of my bulletin of last week that I was asked to speak after dinner at Strawberry Hill.   I gave as my title ‘Horace Walpole and the Royal Academy’, knowing that he had annotated his catalogues of the early Academy exhibitions with peppery comments, which survive in the Lewis Walpole library in Farmington.   The only problem was that these are nearly the only bits of Walpole miscellanea which have not yet been published and that he otherwise had very little contact with the early Academy, sitting to Reynolds in 1756, but not making friends with him, complaining about the queues and high prices at Academy exhibitions, detesting the work of Benjamin West, refusing to be introduced to Samuel Johnson at one of the Academy dinners, and preferring the company of old widows and his Gothic library out at Twickenham.   So, it was a short speech.


One thought on “Horace Walpole

  1. Walpole’s loss: to have had the opportunity to know Reynolds, and West, and not to have engaged with them, is extreme carelessness. Surprising in a man who otherwise had a good, and curious, mind.

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