Twickenham Luminaries

London was the epicentre of commerce and wealth due the Thames which attracted royalty, aristocrats, artists, writers and wealthy property owners. The legacy of the luminaries was a rich tapestry of connections of poets, painters, politicians and princes that made the area the place to be.

Join us as experts explore, explain and offer insight about a luminary, their rich tapestry of connections that brought princes, poets, painters and politicians. 

Twickenham Luminaries: September 2020

14th September: Orleans House
Nellie Ionides and Orleans House

15th September: Marble Hill
Henrietta Howard and Marble Hill House

16th September: Strawberry Hill
Horace Walpole and Strawberry Hill

17th September: Pope’s Grotto
Alexander Pope and his Villa

18th September: Turner’s House
Sir John Soane and Turner’s House

Nellie Ionides and Orleans House

Date: 14th September 2020
Partner: Orleans House
Speaker:Minna Andersen
Recording:View on Youtube

Orleans House was a home and meeting place for royalty, politicians and gentry in the two centuries it stood on the Twickenham riverside. It was demolished in 1926. Without the foresight of local resident The Honourable Nellie Ionides, reputed to be the richest woman in England in the 1950s, it is likely that the glorious Octagon Room would have suffered the same fate.

The talk was given by Minna Andersen, a London Blue Badge Tourist Guide and a volunteer at Orleans House Gallery and the Poppy Factory, using her skills as a speaker and as a guide to bring their history to life once more.

Henrietta Howard and Marble Hill House

Date: 15th September 2020
Partner:Marble Hill
Speaker:Dr Megan Leyland
Recording:View on YouTube

Henrietta Howard, Countess of Suffolk, (1689-1767) has perhaps been best known as mistress to the Prince of Wales, later George II. However, this talk will show that Howard was much more than a mistress. She become an extraordinary figure in the Georgian court and a member of a dynamic circle of writers, poets and politicians. One of her greatest achievements was the construction of her elegant Palladian villa, Marble Hill, and its gardens. This talk will explore how Marble Hill fits into Howard’s fascinating life story, Howard’s role in its creation, and her life at this most hard fought for retreat.

The talk will be given by Dr Megan Leyland, Senior Properties Historian at English Heritage specialising in country houses. Dr Leyland also has a strong interest in gender history. She is responsible for undertaking research and producing content to support new interpretation and dissemination projects.

Horace Walpole and Strawberry Hill

Date: 16th September 2020
Partner: Strawberry Hill
Speaker:Michael Snodin
Recording:View on YouTube

Horace Walpole was the son of Britain’s first Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole. He devoted his life to politics, the arts, antiquarianism, history, collecting and authorship and, from 1749, the creation of Strawberry Hill, his summer villa. The talk will explore Walpole’s greatest creative achievement, and how it was the clearest manifestation of his personality, interests and place in the world.

This talk will be given by Michael Snodin, an architectural and design historian and chair of the Strawberry Hill Collection Trust.

Alexander Pope and his Villa

Date: 17th September 2020
Partner: Pope’s Grotto Preservation Trust
Speaker:Professor Judith Hawley
Recording:View on YouTube

More images were created of the exterior Alexander Pope’s Thameside villa than of any other private residence in the eighteenth century. After his death, his home and garden attracted so many visitors that a later owner razed the villa to the ground in order to preserve her privacy. This talk will consider what the villa meant to Pope himself and attempt to recreate what it might have been like for him to live and work there, surrounded by reminders of his friendships and cultural influences.

The talk was given by Judith Hawley, Professor of Eighteenth-Century Literature at Royal Holloway, University of London and a Trustee of the Pope’s Grotto Preservation Trust.

Sir John Soane and Turner’s House

Date: 18th September 2020
Partner:Turner’s House
Speaker:Ricky Pound
Recording:View on YouTube

This talk will explore the close relationship between Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851) and his friend and fellow fisherman, the architect Sir John Soane (1753–1837). It will look specifically at Turner’s design for his suburban retreat at Twickenham and illustrate how Soane’s fascination for classical and Renaissance architecture helped Turner define its appearance and implied associations.

It will be delivered by Ricky Pound, House Director and a Trustee of Turner’s House.