Back in the 18th century Horace Walpole had once of the best art collections around. Now the hunt is on to find all the amazing pieces that made up the collection.
Housed at Strawberry Hill, Walpole’s neo-gothic mansion in Twickenham, west London, the vast collection of 10,000 objets d’art and curiosities encompassed everything from paintings by Joshua Reynolds and Anthony Van Dyck, to a pair of gloves once owned by King James I and a lock of hair belonging to Mary Tudor.
Now, the hunt is under way to track down thousands of lost items from the collection in the hope of restoring Strawberry Hill to its former glory before it opens to the public for the first time next year.
Among the sought-after lost treasures are an ornate jewelled dagger that belonged to Henry VIII and an ancient Roman sculpture of the Emperor Vespasian, once displayed in 10 Downing Street, the former home of Walpole’s father, Sir Robert Walpole, Britain’s first prime minister.