Eighteenth Century Party House

Strawberry Hill 1Nicola here. Back in the mid-18th century there was only one fashionable place to be if you wanted a “villa” on the River Thames (a villa in these terms being something roughly the size of a large country house to the rest of us.) That place was Twickenham, a village half-way between the two royal palaces of Richmond and Hampton Court and with the improvements in both roads and carriages, a mere two hours’ drive from Central London. It was here in 1747 that Horace Walpole, the son of England’s first Prime Minister, bought a house that he referred to as a “plaything” and a “bauble” that was to be his summer residence, Strawberry Hill House. Even the name suggests hot summer days and fruit growing wild on the hillsides!

These days Twickenham is a busy suburb and it takes less than an hour to drive between the town and the centre of London. Gone are many of the imposing villas beside the Thames, although a few are still around, and the old houses are often surrounded by the new. Horace Walpole’s little Gothic Castle is still there, though, even if we didn’t see any wild strawberries growing on the hill during our visit.

Strawberry Hill was originally called “Chopp’d Straw Hall” and Walpole kept the original building, which had been erected in 1698, and remodelled the inside IMG_2834 and extended it. In creating his Gothic castle, he was inspired by the idea of visitors encountering surprises as they travel around the building – “serendipity” was his word for this, whether it was stepping into a grand gallery or a dark chamber lit only by jewel-bright stained glass.

IMG_2847These days you enter the house via the gift shop and from there step into the hall, but in Walpole’s time the entrance was via the grand front door. The hall is deliberately gloomy, lit by just one candle in a black japanned lantern which immediately creates a rather “gothic” feel, added to by the suit of armour on the stairs, the stained-glass windows and the cathedral-style staircase. We’ve all read those books where the heroine creeps downstairs alone at night when she hears a strange noise in the library; this is a house where you can totally imagine that happening, except that the gorgeous library is actually on the first floor! Here there are cunning arched bookshelves that open outwards so you can get at those books on the top shelves.

Walpole in fact gave himself nightmares with the decoration of Strawberry Hill, dreaming on one occasion that an enormous mailed fist emerged from the suit of armour and came crashing down. It was his inspiration for his novel “The Castle of Otranto,” which was known as the first Gothic novel and the founder of the Gothic horror genre. I could picture Horace working away at his desk in the study by the light of one candle, scaring himself with his own imagination!

Walpole was quite fixated on Henry VIII and in the Holbein Chamber is his tribute to the Tudor world, containing a series of IMG_2846 portraits of members of Henry VIII’s court. This was a bedroom and you could hop into your fourposter behind the screen, in the hope that all those Tudor faces watching you wouldn’t keep you awake all night!

No country house is complete without a long gallery, of course, and the one at Strawberry Hill is just like a Disney-imagined fairy tale! There’s an awful lot of gilding; One visitor described it as “all gold and crimson and looking glass” whilst Walpole himself said “I begin to be ashamed of my own magnificence…” Needless to say, he wasn’t really. Horace was completely over the top and very happy to be there.

IMG_2849The house became very famous in Walpole’s day. All his aristocratic friends and plenty of other people wanted to see this fairy tale house by the river. Walpole would take tours of people he was interested in, leaving his housekeeper Margaret to take the hoi polloi – who were expected to pay a guinea per visitor. After a while Walpole got fed up of the number of people wanting to visit and organised a system of group booking from May to October, no more than 4 people a day and no children(!) He was way ahead of his time in terms of organising heritage tours! Even so, he was very annoyed at the vulgar quality of some of the people, especially those who damaged the furniture and ornaments, and even broke the bill of his Roman eagle statue and stole the broken piece!

Walpole was a great collector, of course, and loved oddities as well as historical artefacts. His collection included china and ceramics, portraits and paintings and also such items as Cardinal Wolsey’s red hat, although he was apparently outbid when he wanted to buy Oliver Cromwell’s night cap. His parties were also legendary. On one occasion he greeted his guests at the gate, dressed in an elaborate cravat based on a Grinling Gibbons carving and a pair of gloves embroidered up the elbows that had belonged to King James I. There was music and banqueting, card games and drinking in the gallery illuminated by a thousand candles. Even the sheep and cows on the estate were chosen to match his garden planting schemes.

Horace Walpole died childless in 1797 and the house passed to a cousin and to the Waldegrave family. It is now run by a charitable Trust and has recently IMG_2852 been restored. My favourite room was the green parlour. You were instructed to go into this very dark chamber and stare at the dark green wall until it looked black. Then you had to look at the blue window and experience "an immediate sensation of cold seep through your veins." Spooky! I don't know whether Strawberry Hill is supposed to be haunted – it would be appropriate for a Gothic house – but it would be easy enough to imagine it was if you were staying there after dark. When the fog rolls up the hill from the Thames in the autumn it is apparently quite a creepy place! Luckily we saw it on a summer day, enjoyed an ice cream in the garden and then wandered back into Twickenham along the river. It's difficult these days, amid the noise and traffic, to imagine how peaceful and rural it would have been back in the 18th century but it's nice that visitors can still see the little icing-sugar castle in all its glory!

If you were planning a party house, what would be your essentials? Horace had his gilded ballroom, his Gothic library and his Tudor portraits; I'd have a book nook for reading parties (!) and a big garden pond! What would make your party perfect?

95 thoughts on “Eighteenth Century Party House”

  1. Super article. For a party house, gosh, what a question. I’d love a hall with chandeliers and a musicians’ gallery. And maybe some balconies overlooking a terrace. Wouldn’t we all?

    Reply
  2. Super article. For a party house, gosh, what a question. I’d love a hall with chandeliers and a musicians’ gallery. And maybe some balconies overlooking a terrace. Wouldn’t we all?

    Reply
  3. Super article. For a party house, gosh, what a question. I’d love a hall with chandeliers and a musicians’ gallery. And maybe some balconies overlooking a terrace. Wouldn’t we all?

    Reply
  4. Super article. For a party house, gosh, what a question. I’d love a hall with chandeliers and a musicians’ gallery. And maybe some balconies overlooking a terrace. Wouldn’t we all?

    Reply
  5. Super article. For a party house, gosh, what a question. I’d love a hall with chandeliers and a musicians’ gallery. And maybe some balconies overlooking a terrace. Wouldn’t we all?

    Reply
  6. Oh wow, this is totally my dream house – I love all things Gothic! As for a house party, I think dancing would be essential for me, as well as lots of canapes. And some swimming if there is a lake 🙂

    Reply
  7. Oh wow, this is totally my dream house – I love all things Gothic! As for a house party, I think dancing would be essential for me, as well as lots of canapes. And some swimming if there is a lake 🙂

    Reply
  8. Oh wow, this is totally my dream house – I love all things Gothic! As for a house party, I think dancing would be essential for me, as well as lots of canapes. And some swimming if there is a lake 🙂

    Reply
  9. Oh wow, this is totally my dream house – I love all things Gothic! As for a house party, I think dancing would be essential for me, as well as lots of canapes. And some swimming if there is a lake 🙂

    Reply
  10. Oh wow, this is totally my dream house – I love all things Gothic! As for a house party, I think dancing would be essential for me, as well as lots of canapes. And some swimming if there is a lake 🙂

    Reply
  11. What a wonderful post. I love it when you ladies take us on tours of such places as Strawberry Hill. Wish I could still do it in person, but those days are over. (sigh) The books I love most always include garden parties, house parties, balls, etc., with wonderful descriptions, and I love it.
    But it is hard for me to relate to on a personal level. My party house is a little two bedroom house, but I’ve had some great parties here. Everyone had a great time. I’ve always been more comfortable at a backyard barbeque than a fancy dinner. That’s just me (smile).

    Reply
  12. What a wonderful post. I love it when you ladies take us on tours of such places as Strawberry Hill. Wish I could still do it in person, but those days are over. (sigh) The books I love most always include garden parties, house parties, balls, etc., with wonderful descriptions, and I love it.
    But it is hard for me to relate to on a personal level. My party house is a little two bedroom house, but I’ve had some great parties here. Everyone had a great time. I’ve always been more comfortable at a backyard barbeque than a fancy dinner. That’s just me (smile).

    Reply
  13. What a wonderful post. I love it when you ladies take us on tours of such places as Strawberry Hill. Wish I could still do it in person, but those days are over. (sigh) The books I love most always include garden parties, house parties, balls, etc., with wonderful descriptions, and I love it.
    But it is hard for me to relate to on a personal level. My party house is a little two bedroom house, but I’ve had some great parties here. Everyone had a great time. I’ve always been more comfortable at a backyard barbeque than a fancy dinner. That’s just me (smile).

    Reply
  14. What a wonderful post. I love it when you ladies take us on tours of such places as Strawberry Hill. Wish I could still do it in person, but those days are over. (sigh) The books I love most always include garden parties, house parties, balls, etc., with wonderful descriptions, and I love it.
    But it is hard for me to relate to on a personal level. My party house is a little two bedroom house, but I’ve had some great parties here. Everyone had a great time. I’ve always been more comfortable at a backyard barbeque than a fancy dinner. That’s just me (smile).

    Reply
  15. What a wonderful post. I love it when you ladies take us on tours of such places as Strawberry Hill. Wish I could still do it in person, but those days are over. (sigh) The books I love most always include garden parties, house parties, balls, etc., with wonderful descriptions, and I love it.
    But it is hard for me to relate to on a personal level. My party house is a little two bedroom house, but I’ve had some great parties here. Everyone had a great time. I’ve always been more comfortable at a backyard barbeque than a fancy dinner. That’s just me (smile).

    Reply
  16. Thank you for dropping in, Julia, and I’m thrilled that you liked the blog. I like the sound of your party house and especially the musicians’ gallery. I always think those look particularly attractive.

    Reply
  17. Thank you for dropping in, Julia, and I’m thrilled that you liked the blog. I like the sound of your party house and especially the musicians’ gallery. I always think those look particularly attractive.

    Reply
  18. Thank you for dropping in, Julia, and I’m thrilled that you liked the blog. I like the sound of your party house and especially the musicians’ gallery. I always think those look particularly attractive.

    Reply
  19. Thank you for dropping in, Julia, and I’m thrilled that you liked the blog. I like the sound of your party house and especially the musicians’ gallery. I always think those look particularly attractive.

    Reply
  20. Thank you for dropping in, Julia, and I’m thrilled that you liked the blog. I like the sound of your party house and especially the musicians’ gallery. I always think those look particularly attractive.

    Reply
  21. I think you would absolutely love Strawberry Hill, Christina! There’s so much Gothicness you’d be totally spoiled. If it’s dancing you are after, the long gallery would be perfect. As for swimming,hmm – I think Horace fell down on that one, not having a lake, but there’s always the river!

    Reply
  22. I think you would absolutely love Strawberry Hill, Christina! There’s so much Gothicness you’d be totally spoiled. If it’s dancing you are after, the long gallery would be perfect. As for swimming,hmm – I think Horace fell down on that one, not having a lake, but there’s always the river!

    Reply
  23. I think you would absolutely love Strawberry Hill, Christina! There’s so much Gothicness you’d be totally spoiled. If it’s dancing you are after, the long gallery would be perfect. As for swimming,hmm – I think Horace fell down on that one, not having a lake, but there’s always the river!

    Reply
  24. I think you would absolutely love Strawberry Hill, Christina! There’s so much Gothicness you’d be totally spoiled. If it’s dancing you are after, the long gallery would be perfect. As for swimming,hmm – I think Horace fell down on that one, not having a lake, but there’s always the river!

    Reply
  25. I think you would absolutely love Strawberry Hill, Christina! There’s so much Gothicness you’d be totally spoiled. If it’s dancing you are after, the long gallery would be perfect. As for swimming,hmm – I think Horace fell down on that one, not having a lake, but there’s always the river!

    Reply
  26. Oh thank you, Mary, I am so glad you enjoy our trips and tours! Strawberry Hill would be perfect for garden parties and balls! But I also love the sound of your own perfect little party house!

    Reply
  27. Oh thank you, Mary, I am so glad you enjoy our trips and tours! Strawberry Hill would be perfect for garden parties and balls! But I also love the sound of your own perfect little party house!

    Reply
  28. Oh thank you, Mary, I am so glad you enjoy our trips and tours! Strawberry Hill would be perfect for garden parties and balls! But I also love the sound of your own perfect little party house!

    Reply
  29. Oh thank you, Mary, I am so glad you enjoy our trips and tours! Strawberry Hill would be perfect for garden parties and balls! But I also love the sound of your own perfect little party house!

    Reply
  30. Oh thank you, Mary, I am so glad you enjoy our trips and tours! Strawberry Hill would be perfect for garden parties and balls! But I also love the sound of your own perfect little party house!

    Reply
  31. Nicola, thanks for sharing Strawberry Hill House with us; it looks like a fascinating place!
    I would probably go for cozy when entertaining. I’d like a nice game table and some wonderful treats to eat. Can I request a chef specializing in patisserie and some wait staff?

    Reply
  32. Nicola, thanks for sharing Strawberry Hill House with us; it looks like a fascinating place!
    I would probably go for cozy when entertaining. I’d like a nice game table and some wonderful treats to eat. Can I request a chef specializing in patisserie and some wait staff?

    Reply
  33. Nicola, thanks for sharing Strawberry Hill House with us; it looks like a fascinating place!
    I would probably go for cozy when entertaining. I’d like a nice game table and some wonderful treats to eat. Can I request a chef specializing in patisserie and some wait staff?

    Reply
  34. Nicola, thanks for sharing Strawberry Hill House with us; it looks like a fascinating place!
    I would probably go for cozy when entertaining. I’d like a nice game table and some wonderful treats to eat. Can I request a chef specializing in patisserie and some wait staff?

    Reply
  35. Nicola, thanks for sharing Strawberry Hill House with us; it looks like a fascinating place!
    I would probably go for cozy when entertaining. I’d like a nice game table and some wonderful treats to eat. Can I request a chef specializing in patisserie and some wait staff?

    Reply
  36. Thank you for another facinating virtual tour. I don’t know If I would have chosen this, but I am VERY glad you chose to take me on your visit.

    Reply
  37. Thank you for another facinating virtual tour. I don’t know If I would have chosen this, but I am VERY glad you chose to take me on your visit.

    Reply
  38. Thank you for another facinating virtual tour. I don’t know If I would have chosen this, but I am VERY glad you chose to take me on your visit.

    Reply
  39. Thank you for another facinating virtual tour. I don’t know If I would have chosen this, but I am VERY glad you chose to take me on your visit.

    Reply
  40. Thank you for another facinating virtual tour. I don’t know If I would have chosen this, but I am VERY glad you chose to take me on your visit.

    Reply
  41. One thing I’ve learned as I’ve grown old (don’t burn me, I like being old) is that I’m not a party person. My party house/room would be the estate library, with loads of books of all kinds, deep and cushy furniture to sink into, and a bell pull at hand to order any food and drink fantasy I could dream up. Oh, and lots of quiet, punctuated at times by discussions with like-minded fellow readers. Guess that’s my idea of heaven, too—I can dream!

    Reply
  42. One thing I’ve learned as I’ve grown old (don’t burn me, I like being old) is that I’m not a party person. My party house/room would be the estate library, with loads of books of all kinds, deep and cushy furniture to sink into, and a bell pull at hand to order any food and drink fantasy I could dream up. Oh, and lots of quiet, punctuated at times by discussions with like-minded fellow readers. Guess that’s my idea of heaven, too—I can dream!

    Reply
  43. One thing I’ve learned as I’ve grown old (don’t burn me, I like being old) is that I’m not a party person. My party house/room would be the estate library, with loads of books of all kinds, deep and cushy furniture to sink into, and a bell pull at hand to order any food and drink fantasy I could dream up. Oh, and lots of quiet, punctuated at times by discussions with like-minded fellow readers. Guess that’s my idea of heaven, too—I can dream!

    Reply
  44. One thing I’ve learned as I’ve grown old (don’t burn me, I like being old) is that I’m not a party person. My party house/room would be the estate library, with loads of books of all kinds, deep and cushy furniture to sink into, and a bell pull at hand to order any food and drink fantasy I could dream up. Oh, and lots of quiet, punctuated at times by discussions with like-minded fellow readers. Guess that’s my idea of heaven, too—I can dream!

    Reply
  45. One thing I’ve learned as I’ve grown old (don’t burn me, I like being old) is that I’m not a party person. My party house/room would be the estate library, with loads of books of all kinds, deep and cushy furniture to sink into, and a bell pull at hand to order any food and drink fantasy I could dream up. Oh, and lots of quiet, punctuated at times by discussions with like-minded fellow readers. Guess that’s my idea of heaven, too—I can dream!

    Reply
  46. Mary, that sounds perfect to me too! I don’t think Horace Walpole and I would have had much in common although he would have been an interesting person to meet. A lot of us introverts would prefer the “book party house” I’m sure. Your vision for it sounds perfect!

    Reply
  47. Mary, that sounds perfect to me too! I don’t think Horace Walpole and I would have had much in common although he would have been an interesting person to meet. A lot of us introverts would prefer the “book party house” I’m sure. Your vision for it sounds perfect!

    Reply
  48. Mary, that sounds perfect to me too! I don’t think Horace Walpole and I would have had much in common although he would have been an interesting person to meet. A lot of us introverts would prefer the “book party house” I’m sure. Your vision for it sounds perfect!

    Reply
  49. Mary, that sounds perfect to me too! I don’t think Horace Walpole and I would have had much in common although he would have been an interesting person to meet. A lot of us introverts would prefer the “book party house” I’m sure. Your vision for it sounds perfect!

    Reply
  50. Mary, that sounds perfect to me too! I don’t think Horace Walpole and I would have had much in common although he would have been an interesting person to meet. A lot of us introverts would prefer the “book party house” I’m sure. Your vision for it sounds perfect!

    Reply
  51. Thank you so much for this post. It is amazing that Walpole was able to create such an interesting place. I personally think he would have been a fun guy to meet…but I am part of the hoi polloi so he would never have lowered himself to speak to me.
    Perfect party place…I would love to have a large area which was a garden. There would be paths, and shaded seats with cushions for comfy reading areas. A guest could walk if they chose, or simply sit and enjoy the flowers and the trees and the bees and birds, or they could read. At night one could watch the stars and moon for a time.
    Guests would never really have to meet a hostess, they could simply come, enjoy and depart when they chose. But, there are no places for over night guests.
    That is the time when I would enjoy the garden and the quiet.
    Hope everyone is well and safe and happy.

    Reply
  52. Thank you so much for this post. It is amazing that Walpole was able to create such an interesting place. I personally think he would have been a fun guy to meet…but I am part of the hoi polloi so he would never have lowered himself to speak to me.
    Perfect party place…I would love to have a large area which was a garden. There would be paths, and shaded seats with cushions for comfy reading areas. A guest could walk if they chose, or simply sit and enjoy the flowers and the trees and the bees and birds, or they could read. At night one could watch the stars and moon for a time.
    Guests would never really have to meet a hostess, they could simply come, enjoy and depart when they chose. But, there are no places for over night guests.
    That is the time when I would enjoy the garden and the quiet.
    Hope everyone is well and safe and happy.

    Reply
  53. Thank you so much for this post. It is amazing that Walpole was able to create such an interesting place. I personally think he would have been a fun guy to meet…but I am part of the hoi polloi so he would never have lowered himself to speak to me.
    Perfect party place…I would love to have a large area which was a garden. There would be paths, and shaded seats with cushions for comfy reading areas. A guest could walk if they chose, or simply sit and enjoy the flowers and the trees and the bees and birds, or they could read. At night one could watch the stars and moon for a time.
    Guests would never really have to meet a hostess, they could simply come, enjoy and depart when they chose. But, there are no places for over night guests.
    That is the time when I would enjoy the garden and the quiet.
    Hope everyone is well and safe and happy.

    Reply
  54. Thank you so much for this post. It is amazing that Walpole was able to create such an interesting place. I personally think he would have been a fun guy to meet…but I am part of the hoi polloi so he would never have lowered himself to speak to me.
    Perfect party place…I would love to have a large area which was a garden. There would be paths, and shaded seats with cushions for comfy reading areas. A guest could walk if they chose, or simply sit and enjoy the flowers and the trees and the bees and birds, or they could read. At night one could watch the stars and moon for a time.
    Guests would never really have to meet a hostess, they could simply come, enjoy and depart when they chose. But, there are no places for over night guests.
    That is the time when I would enjoy the garden and the quiet.
    Hope everyone is well and safe and happy.

    Reply
  55. Thank you so much for this post. It is amazing that Walpole was able to create such an interesting place. I personally think he would have been a fun guy to meet…but I am part of the hoi polloi so he would never have lowered himself to speak to me.
    Perfect party place…I would love to have a large area which was a garden. There would be paths, and shaded seats with cushions for comfy reading areas. A guest could walk if they chose, or simply sit and enjoy the flowers and the trees and the bees and birds, or they could read. At night one could watch the stars and moon for a time.
    Guests would never really have to meet a hostess, they could simply come, enjoy and depart when they chose. But, there are no places for over night guests.
    That is the time when I would enjoy the garden and the quiet.
    Hope everyone is well and safe and happy.

    Reply
  56. Walpole does sound like quite a partier. I’m not myself, but if I wanted a house designed for entertaining, I would have a room with a pool table, outdoor patios for lounging, water features, and areas for badminton, croquet and horseshoes.

    Reply
  57. Walpole does sound like quite a partier. I’m not myself, but if I wanted a house designed for entertaining, I would have a room with a pool table, outdoor patios for lounging, water features, and areas for badminton, croquet and horseshoes.

    Reply
  58. Walpole does sound like quite a partier. I’m not myself, but if I wanted a house designed for entertaining, I would have a room with a pool table, outdoor patios for lounging, water features, and areas for badminton, croquet and horseshoes.

    Reply
  59. Walpole does sound like quite a partier. I’m not myself, but if I wanted a house designed for entertaining, I would have a room with a pool table, outdoor patios for lounging, water features, and areas for badminton, croquet and horseshoes.

    Reply
  60. Walpole does sound like quite a partier. I’m not myself, but if I wanted a house designed for entertaining, I would have a room with a pool table, outdoor patios for lounging, water features, and areas for badminton, croquet and horseshoes.

    Reply
  61. I’m quite an introvert most of the time and my husband is much the same. Having said that, we have had some marvelous family parties here over the years. We have a big enough house so plenty room for people to stay over. When my children were younger they always had friends over when we had a party. Some of them even slept in tents in the garden when everywhere else was full. Ah great days!
    I love the sound of this house. Visiting old houses and places like that are a passion of mine. Love the idea of the gothic theme and the fact he scared himself:)
    Wonderful post Nicola!

    Reply
  62. I’m quite an introvert most of the time and my husband is much the same. Having said that, we have had some marvelous family parties here over the years. We have a big enough house so plenty room for people to stay over. When my children were younger they always had friends over when we had a party. Some of them even slept in tents in the garden when everywhere else was full. Ah great days!
    I love the sound of this house. Visiting old houses and places like that are a passion of mine. Love the idea of the gothic theme and the fact he scared himself:)
    Wonderful post Nicola!

    Reply
  63. I’m quite an introvert most of the time and my husband is much the same. Having said that, we have had some marvelous family parties here over the years. We have a big enough house so plenty room for people to stay over. When my children were younger they always had friends over when we had a party. Some of them even slept in tents in the garden when everywhere else was full. Ah great days!
    I love the sound of this house. Visiting old houses and places like that are a passion of mine. Love the idea of the gothic theme and the fact he scared himself:)
    Wonderful post Nicola!

    Reply
  64. I’m quite an introvert most of the time and my husband is much the same. Having said that, we have had some marvelous family parties here over the years. We have a big enough house so plenty room for people to stay over. When my children were younger they always had friends over when we had a party. Some of them even slept in tents in the garden when everywhere else was full. Ah great days!
    I love the sound of this house. Visiting old houses and places like that are a passion of mine. Love the idea of the gothic theme and the fact he scared himself:)
    Wonderful post Nicola!

    Reply
  65. I’m quite an introvert most of the time and my husband is much the same. Having said that, we have had some marvelous family parties here over the years. We have a big enough house so plenty room for people to stay over. When my children were younger they always had friends over when we had a party. Some of them even slept in tents in the garden when everywhere else was full. Ah great days!
    I love the sound of this house. Visiting old houses and places like that are a passion of mine. Love the idea of the gothic theme and the fact he scared himself:)
    Wonderful post Nicola!

    Reply
  66. Thank you for conjuring up such a beautiful image of the party garden, Annette. It sounds the perfect place to curl up with a book, enjoy the fresh air, watch the stars… Lovely!

    Reply
  67. Thank you for conjuring up such a beautiful image of the party garden, Annette. It sounds the perfect place to curl up with a book, enjoy the fresh air, watch the stars… Lovely!

    Reply
  68. Thank you for conjuring up such a beautiful image of the party garden, Annette. It sounds the perfect place to curl up with a book, enjoy the fresh air, watch the stars… Lovely!

    Reply
  69. Thank you for conjuring up such a beautiful image of the party garden, Annette. It sounds the perfect place to curl up with a book, enjoy the fresh air, watch the stars… Lovely!

    Reply
  70. Thank you for conjuring up such a beautiful image of the party garden, Annette. It sounds the perfect place to curl up with a book, enjoy the fresh air, watch the stars… Lovely!

    Reply
  71. I didn’t know about horseshoes until I read this, Karin. You’ve certainly laid on a lot of fun games for your guests, and I love the idea of water features!

    Reply
  72. I didn’t know about horseshoes until I read this, Karin. You’ve certainly laid on a lot of fun games for your guests, and I love the idea of water features!

    Reply
  73. I didn’t know about horseshoes until I read this, Karin. You’ve certainly laid on a lot of fun games for your guests, and I love the idea of water features!

    Reply
  74. I didn’t know about horseshoes until I read this, Karin. You’ve certainly laid on a lot of fun games for your guests, and I love the idea of water features!

    Reply
  75. I didn’t know about horseshoes until I read this, Karin. You’ve certainly laid on a lot of fun games for your guests, and I love the idea of water features!

    Reply
  76. LOL, yes it is funny that Horace gave himself nightmares, though as a typical writer he turned it into a book! I think he would have been far too much of an extrovert for most of us to cope with. A family party would suit me fine – and yours sound wonderful – rather than a full ballroom with fashionable guests!

    Reply
  77. LOL, yes it is funny that Horace gave himself nightmares, though as a typical writer he turned it into a book! I think he would have been far too much of an extrovert for most of us to cope with. A family party would suit me fine – and yours sound wonderful – rather than a full ballroom with fashionable guests!

    Reply
  78. LOL, yes it is funny that Horace gave himself nightmares, though as a typical writer he turned it into a book! I think he would have been far too much of an extrovert for most of us to cope with. A family party would suit me fine – and yours sound wonderful – rather than a full ballroom with fashionable guests!

    Reply
  79. LOL, yes it is funny that Horace gave himself nightmares, though as a typical writer he turned it into a book! I think he would have been far too much of an extrovert for most of us to cope with. A family party would suit me fine – and yours sound wonderful – rather than a full ballroom with fashionable guests!

    Reply
  80. LOL, yes it is funny that Horace gave himself nightmares, though as a typical writer he turned it into a book! I think he would have been far too much of an extrovert for most of us to cope with. A family party would suit me fine – and yours sound wonderful – rather than a full ballroom with fashionable guests!

    Reply
  81. There was a photo of Grinling Gibbons’ carved trompe d’oeil cravat in the Times last week. A new book about Gibbons was being reviewed. I didn’t know of a conenction to Horace Walpole.

    Reply
  82. There was a photo of Grinling Gibbons’ carved trompe d’oeil cravat in the Times last week. A new book about Gibbons was being reviewed. I didn’t know of a conenction to Horace Walpole.

    Reply
  83. There was a photo of Grinling Gibbons’ carved trompe d’oeil cravat in the Times last week. A new book about Gibbons was being reviewed. I didn’t know of a conenction to Horace Walpole.

    Reply
  84. There was a photo of Grinling Gibbons’ carved trompe d’oeil cravat in the Times last week. A new book about Gibbons was being reviewed. I didn’t know of a conenction to Horace Walpole.

    Reply
  85. There was a photo of Grinling Gibbons’ carved trompe d’oeil cravat in the Times last week. A new book about Gibbons was being reviewed. I didn’t know of a conenction to Horace Walpole.

    Reply

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