Eighteenth-century Gothic fiction actually
begins with architecture, with Horace Walpole's
transformation of Strawberry Hill, his famous
Gothic creation on the Thames, into the famous
haunted castle of his The Castle of Otranto (1764).
Every Gothic tale thereafter, regardless
of the specific setting, lavishes attention
on the architectural details of halls, chambers,
closets, cabinets, stairways, secret passages,
and dungeons — the experiences of terror
are inseparable from the floors, walls, ceilings,
doors, windows, and screens enclosing them.
Here, from Walpole's 1784 Description
of the Villa of Mr. Horace Walpole, Youngest
Son of Sir Robert Walpole Earl of Orford,
at Strawberry-Hill near Twickenham, Middlesex,
with an Inventory of the Furniture, Pictures,
Curiosities, &c., are five engraved
illustrations showing (top row, left) the
north front of the building; (right) the
main entrance; (middle row, left) a staircase;
(right) the library; and (bottom row) a small
room called a cabinet.