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Appears in Collections:Literature and Languages Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Heraldry and the Architectural Imagination: John Carter's Visualisation of The Castle of Otranto
Authors: Lindfield, Peter
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Issue Date: 14-Jul-2016
Citation: Lindfield P (2016) Heraldry and the Architectural Imagination: John Carter's Visualisation of The Castle of Otranto, The Antiquaries Journal.
Abstract: Horace Walpole (1717–97) is well known for two important Gothic projects: his villa, Strawberry Hill, Twickenham (1747/8–80), and his novel,The Castle of Otranto(1764). These two manifestations of Walpole’s ‘Gothic imagination’ are frequently linked in critical literature on the Gothic Revival and medievalism more broadly; the relationship between Strawberry Hill,Otrantoand manuscript illustrations visualisingOtranto’s narrative has, on the other hand, received far less attention. This paper brings together a number of important and hitherto overlooked sources that help address this imbalance. In particular, it examines two large-scale watercolours by John Carter (1748–1817) that narrate some ofOtranto’s pivotal scenes, allowing critically overlooked subtleties in their iconographies to emerge. The work establishes how Carter’s pre-existing interests – in particular, in Gothic architectural forms and heraldry – are harnessed to govern his representations ofOtranto. These paintings, together with Carter’s other illustrations, demonstrate Walpole’s authorship ofOtranto, expressed through codes hidden in plain sight. Unlike the frequently touted link between Strawberry Hill andOtrantoin secondary criticism, Carter’s illustrations, the argument reveals, do not explicitly make this connection.
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Rights: Publisher policy allows this work to be made available in this repository. Published by Cambridge University Press in The Antiquaries Journal / FirstView Article © The Society of Antiquaries of London 2016 DOI: (About DOI),

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