Horatio "Horace" Walpole, 1717 - 1797

portrait of Horace Walpole
Oil on canvas by Sir Joshua Reynolds, circa 1756-1757.
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Born: 24 September 1717, London, England, UK
Died: 2 March 1797, Berkeley Square, London, England, UK

Generally known as "Horace", he was the fourth and youngest son of the prime minister Robert Walpole. He was an indifferent student at Eton College and King's College, Cambridge and soon entered parliament. He served three different ridings in sequence over 47 years, but showed little other political ambition. He had two passions: writing and his "Strawberry Hill" home at Twickenham, south-west of London. He spent a quarter century adding Gothic decoration to the house, spurring a new trend, and filled it with oddities from around the world. He gave tours of the house for a fee while complaining about the invasion of his privacy. To facilitate his literary efforts he equipped Strawberry Hill with a printing press. Along with several novels, he left behind a chest of memoirs totaling some three million words, mostly still unpublished, and over three thousand letters which Yale has now published in 48 volumes. It was Walpole who coined the word "serendipity", based on the Italian story, The Three Princes of Serendip, which, in turn, was a Persian fairy tale.

Biography from Wikipedia and OnlineLiterature.com

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