Monday, 2 February 2009

Walpole Letters.

St.Mary's is built in the grounds of Strawberry Hill - a beautiful, ridiculously quirky, little Gothic castle. It's a unique site, the vision of Horace Walpole, son of the Robert Walpole, the first British Prime Minister. Horace was more interested in letters and travel than power and prestige and our delicate Italianate home is the result of these life long passions.

When I first started working here I couldn't believe it. I felt like I'd been appointed to Hogwarts.

For the last year or so we've been in a bit of a building site as a full blown restoration is carried out with a public reopening planned for a little over a year's time in conjunction with an exhibition at the V & A. We're going to take a full part with two shows commissioned by the Strawberry Hill trust - one for children and one for adults, tentatively we're beginning the research and planning.

The Tempest company very generously gave me a collection of Walpole's letters after our Ham House gigs and I've spent the last couple of days reading through them. What a gem they are - witty, humane and gossipy - he's like a soft Samuel Pepys (the best of the early bloggers!!!) At one moment we're standing in front of the house looking out at the long since developed vista down to the Thames and onto Richmond Park, the next we're in the middle of the Drury Lane riots or attending the executions of rebel Lords. London as exciting, various and lively in the mid-eighteenth century as it is today.

It's going to be wonderful working on them.

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