Horatio Walpole, 4th Earl of Orford (24 September 1717 – 2 March 1797), was an English art historian, man of letters, antiquarian and politician. He is now largely remembered for Strawberry Hill, the home he built in Twickenham, south-west London where he revived the Gothic style some decades before his Victorian successors, and for his Gothic novel, The Castle of Otranto. Along with the book, his literary reputation rests on his Letters, which are of significant social and political interest. He was the son of Sir Robert Walpole, and cousin of Lord Nelson.
Walpole was born in London, the youngest son of British Prime Minister Robert Walpole. Like his father, he was educated at Eton College and King's College, Cambridge. After university, Walpole went on the Grand Tour with the poet Thomas Gray, but they did not get on well. During his time in France, he bonded with the society hostess Madame du Deffand, but there is no evidence of a sexual relationship between the two.
Walpole returned to England in 1741, entering Parliament, becoming Member of Parliament for Callington, Cornwall. He remained an MP after the death of his father in 1745 and this would last until 1768. He was never politically ambitious, although he was involved in the John Byng case of 1757.