Laura Ford at Strawberry Hill, Strawberry Hill House, 268 Waldegrave Road, Twickenham TW1 4ST
I must admit I have always been drawn to Strawberry Hill and Horace Walpole and so the double pleasure of seeing his country villa and this special exhibition of works by Laura Ford was too much to resist.
Strawberry Hill is one of the earliest examples of Gothic revival in this country and the series of whimsical spaces within the villas are ideal for Ford’s sculptures which are sometimes humorous and sometimes slightly sinister in appearance.
The latter, of course, reflects perfectly Walpole’s 1765 novel The Castle of Otranto which is regarded as the first gothic novel – a genre that remains popular to this day as the recent British Library exhibition showed. Indeed on your tour of the house you will see the room where Walpole first dreamt of the story. This is a very special exhibition, perfectly suited for the house.
Thanks are due to Lord and Lady Cholmondeley, Houghton Hall; the New Art Centre, Roche Court; Lakeland Arts and Arts Council England for their support. Next year the exhibition can be seen at Blackwell Arts and Crafts House, Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria from 19 March – 4 September 2016.