Yesterday I listened to a BBC radio programme about what is generally recognised as the first Gothic novel in the English language, namely ‘Castle of Otranto’ since when I have begun reading the story.. . . …. .
Horatio Walpole, 4th Earl of Orford (September 1717 – March 1797), was an English art historian, man of letters, antiquarian and politician. He is now largely remembered for Strawberry Hill, the home he built in Twickenham, London where he revived the Gothic style some decades before his Victorian successors, and for his Gothic novel, ‘The Castle of Otranto‘ regarded as a manifesto for the modern Gothic romance.
Along with the book, his literary reputation rests on his ‘Letters’, which are of significant social and political interest. In ‘Historic Doubts on the Life and Reign of King Richard III’ (1768), Walpole defended Richard III against the common belief that he murdered the Princes in the Tower.
He was the youngest son of Catherine Shorter & Sir Robert Walpole, [who is generally regarded as having been the first Prime Minister of Great Britain], and cousin of Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson, 1st Duke of Bronté, KB.