First post of the year, and I’m delighted to be sharing my abstract for my paper for BSECS, which unbelievably is next week! Details below:
Textual Practices, Familial Legacies, and Queer Kinship: Anne Damer’s Inheritance of Strawberry Hill
This paper will focus on Anne Seymour Damer’s inheritance of Horace Walpole’s home, Strawberry Hill, following his death in 1797. To date, scholarship on the house has often examined both the design of Walpole’s gothic-revival edifice, as well as the eventual dispersal of its infamous collections, with little research conducted on the significance of Damer’s acquisition of the property. Focusing on the idea of inheritance through an examination of Damer’s extra-illustrated copy of Walpole’s published account of his home, A Description of the Villa of Horace Walpole (1774, reissued 1784), it reads her acquisition of the house against the interconnected contexts of ownership, loss, emotion, and materiality, as well as Walpole’s attempt at creating a queer familial legacy for his home. Locating Damer’s inheritance of the property between the physical and material spaces of book and house, it will demonstrate how such an approach to Strawberry Hill not only allows for a better understanding of how Walpole and Damer themselves conceived of the house, but also of how historians have considered the complex legacies of one of the period’s most compelling domestic spaces.
You can find a full programme for the conference here.