Horace Walpole born 24 September 1717 (d. 1797)
Horatio Walpole, 4th Earl of Orford, more commonly known as Horace Walpole, was a politician, writer, architectural innovator and namesake of his cousin Horatio Nelson.
He was born in London, the youngest son of British Prime Minister Robert Walpole. He was educated at Eton College and King's College, Cambridge. His homosexuality revealed itself early, and he is believed to have had affairs with the poet Thomas Gray, and with Henry Fiennes Clinton, 9th Earl of Lincoln (later 2nd Duke of Newcastle). Gray accompanied Walpole on the Grand Tour, but they quarrelled, and Walpole returned to England in 1741 and entered parliament. He was never politically ambitious, but remained an MP even after the death of his father in 1745 left him a man of independent means.
Following his father's politics, he was a devotee of King George II and Queen Caroline, siding with them against their son, Frederick, Prince of Wales, about whom Walpole wrote spitefully in his memoirs.
Walpole's home, Strawberry Hill, near Twickenham, was a fanciful concoction of neo-Gothic which began a new architectural trend. In 1764, he published his Gothic novel, The Castle of Otranto, setting a literary trend to go with the architecture. Strawberry Hill is undergoing a major restoration project.
From 1762 on, he published his Anecdotes of Painting in England. His memoirs of the Georgian social and political scene, though heavily biased, are a useful primary source for historians. In one of the numerous letters, from January 28, 1754, he coined the word serendipity which he said was derived from a 'silly fairy tale' he had read, The Three Princes of Serendip. He also authored the often-quoted epigram, 'Life is a comedy to those who think and a tragedy to those who feel'.
His father was created Earl of Orford in 1742. Horace's elder brother, Robert Walpole, 2nd Earl of Orford (c.1701–1751), passed the title on to his son George Walpole, 3rd Earl of Orford (1730–1791). When George died 'unmarried', Horace Walpole became the 4th Earl of Orford. When Horace Walpole died in 1797 the title became extinct.
[Painting Horace Walpole, Fourth Earl of Orford (1717-1797), ca 1759 by Allan Ramsay (1713-1784)]
Popular Themes and Searches
Academics Activists Actors Architects Aristocrats Artists Ballet Beat Generation Bisexuals Broadcasters Broadway Businessmen Choreographers Classical Music Comedians Composers Critics Dancers Death by suicide Death from HIV/Aids DJs Drag Fashion Designers Female Impersonators Film Film Directors Hollywood Illustrators Journalists Leftfield/Avant-Garde Military Men Musical Theatre Musicians Novelists Olympic Medalists Oscar Wilde Painters Photographers Playwrights Poets Politicians Popular Music Porn Stars Radio Screenwriters Singers Songwriters Sportsmen Television Theatre Theatre Directors Tony Award winners Victorians World War 2 World War I Writers