Below you can view a video on the literary and historical significance of Horace Walpole's Stawberry Hill. The Site itself is still open to the public, and is maintained through a public trust. http://www.strawberryhillhouse.org.uk/
""The world is a comedy to those that think; a tragedy to those that feel."
Horace Walpole not only wrote The Castle of Otranto, but was responsible for launching the Gothic novel genre. The Gothic would become a part of Victorian and European social culture during that time period.
Born Horatio Walpole on September 24, 1717 in London, Walpole would later attend King's College in Cambridge. Walpole died March 2, 1797 having never married.
In 1747, he purchased a small villa that later came to be known as Strawberry Hill (as seen on the right). He transformed it into a Gothic show place with "cloisters, turrets, and battlements and filled the interiors with pictures, curios, and an impressive library (Brittanica: Walpole)."
Strawberry Hill may differ from what many readers picture when reading The Castle of Otranto, but it also gives a vivid portrait of how the beautiful and grotesque can co-exist. As The Castle of Otranto was written in 1765 it would stand that his own villa along with other models of Gothic architecture were inspirational to him.
When asked about his inspiration for elements in The Castle of Otranto, Walpole confessed that the idea came to him in a dream (although the prefaces to his text would dictate otherwise). He explained that, "all I could recover was, that I had thought myself in an ancient castle (a very natural dream for a head like mine, filled with Gothic story), and that on the uppermost banister of a great staircase I saw a gigantic hand in armour. In the evening I sat down and began to write, without knowing in the least what I intended to say or relate (Morley)."