Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Horace Walpole's Wooden Cravat

One of Horace Walpole's most prized possessions was the cravat c.1690 carved from limewood in imitation of Venetian needlepoint lace by Grinling Gibbons. It was made to show the sculptor's skill. Walpole was a great admirer of Gibbon's work and his family home, Houghton Hall in Norfolk had a room decorated with his carving.

The wooden cravat was displayed in the Tribune or Cabinet at Strawberry Hill alongside Walpole's other most precious small objects. In 1769 he wore the wooden cravat and a pair of lace gloves that had belonged to James VI and I to receive some distinguished French, Portuguese and Spanish visitors. The wooden cravat is now a prize exhibit at the V&A.