We use cookies to improve your experience online. By using our website, you agree to the use of cookies as described in our cookies policy.

Ædes Walpolianæ: Or, A Description Of The Collection of Pictures At Houghton-Hall in Norfolk, The Seat of the Right Honourable Sir Robert Walpole, Earl of Orford. The Second Edition with Additions. [Epigraph from Prior]

RA Collection: Book

Record number



London:: Printed in the Year MDCC LII.

Physical Description

xxxv, [36-]143, [1] p., frontis. (port.), [5] pl. (four fold.); 276 mm. (Quarto.)

General Note

Page 48 is misnumbered as 40.


[Frontis., t.p., dedic.] - Introduction - [2 fold. pl.] - [Text] - [2 fold. pl.] - A Sermon On Painting - [Port.] - A Journey To Houghton, The Seat of the Right Honourable Robert Walpole Earl of Orford, In the County of Norfolk. A Poem. By the Reverend Mr. Whaley; [colophon].

Responsibility Note

The frontispiece portrait of Sir Robert Walpole is signed as figured by F. Zinke in 1744 and drawn and engraved by G. Vertue in 1748. The two fold. plans of Houghton are unsigned. The two fold. elevations of the house are signed as by Ripley architect and engraved by G. Vertue. The portrait of Lady Walpole is signed as figured by F. Zinke in 1735 and drawn and engraved by G. Vertue in 1748.

Headpieces are unsigned.

The printer is named in the colophon: 'Printed by John Hughs, near Lincoln's-Inn-Fields.'

The work is dedicated (1743) by Horace Walpole to his father, Lord Orford.


ESTC, T132890
A.T. Hazen, A bibliography of Horace Walpole (1948).
L. Dukelskaya and A. Moore, A capital collection: Houghton Hall and the Hermitage [exhibition catalogue] (2002).
A. Moore, ed., Houghton Hall: the Prime Minister, the Empress and the heritage (1996).
D. Sutton, 'Aspects of British collecting, I:iv: the age of Sir Robert Walpole', in Apollo, 114 (1981), p.328-39.

Summary Note

The catalogue was composed by Robert Walpole's son, Horace; who also wrote the Introduction (a sweeping survey of western European painting) and the Sermon On Painting. The sermon was composed in 1742, and the catalogue in 1743 and first published privately in 1747.

Robert Walpole's collection of pictures included works by Maratti, Poussin, Guido Reni and Van Dyck, and Velazquez's portrait of Pope Innocent X. After his death it was dispersed in three sales, in 1748, 1751 and 1779; and many works from the 1779 sale were bought by the Empress Catherine II of Russia.

The plates are captioned and show: (frontis.) portrait of 'Sr. Robert Walpole Earl Of Orford 1744'; [1] 'Plan of the Principal floor'; [2] 'Ground plan'; [3] 'East Front'; [4] 'West Front'; [5] portrait of 'Catherine Lady Walpole'.


A microfilm copy was published in 1986 (Woodbridge CT: Research Publications).


The front pastedown is inscribed in ink, 'James Colyear Dawkins'.

A handwritten note in ink has been attached to the front pasteedown with sealing tape; which reads, '28 Golden Square, London, W. 10 November 1896. My dear Sir, My intention had been to leave the two Catalogues by my Will but possibly they are safer in your Library. At all events it secures them. I therefore have much pleasure in sending them herewith and if the Council of the Royal Academy will accept them it will give me much pleasure. I remain, Yours faithfully Frank Richardson. William F. Yeames Esq'. (W.F. Yeames R.A. was Librarian o the Royal Academy from July 1896 to November 1911.)

The title-page is inscribed in ink, 'Wm. Morland'.

To the verso of the title-page has been pasted a card inscribed in ink, 'Sir Joshua Reynolds'.

Copy Note

A preliminary leaf is inscribed in ink, 'This book belong'd to Sir Joshua Reynolds. The marks in black lead pencil were made by that great artist The Collection which this book describes was sold to the Empress of Russia, in 1779, for forty thousand & some odd hundred pounds, nearly the sum which it had cost Sir Robert Walpole. Many of these pictures were however presents to him. The celebrated Collection made by the Regent Duke of Orleans at the Palais Royal at Paris acc[illegible] Spence in his Anecdotes [illegible] cost, upwards of one million sterling. Spenced says that the Duke paid for the Belle Raphael (a picture so call'd in his collection of eleven hundred pounds, & that it was the most expensive picture in the Collection.'

In the margins alongside the descriptions of several pictures a price in sterling has been inscribed in ink.

At the foot of p.96 is a seven-line annotation in black ink, scratched through in black ink.

Binding Note

18th-century half calf, marbled-papered boards; rebacked and recornered in 1990, spine lettered 'Ædes Walpolianæ'. Bound with one other.

Name as Subject


Paintings, European - History
Collections - Great Britain - Norfolk - Houghton Hall - 18th century
Architecture - Country houses - Great Britain - Norfolk - Houghton Hall - 18th century
Catalogues - Great Britain - 18th century
Plans - Elevations - Great Britain - 18th century
Pictorial works - Great Britain - 18th century


Horace Walpole, 4th Earl of Orford
Christian Frederick Zincke, source artist
George Vertue, draughtsman, engraver
Thomas Ripley, source artist
John Hughs, printer
Sir Joshua Reynolds PRA, previous owner
Wm. Morland, previous owner
James Colyear Dawkins, previous owner
Frank Richardson, previous owner, donor