Soon after her marriage in 1816 Princess Charlotte of Wales, only daughter of the future George IV and his estranged wife Caroline of Brunswick, settled at Claremont House in Surrey with her husband Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg. The Princess ordered the construction of a gothic summerhouse on the spot where she first alighted on the estate, and called the retreat her ‘House on the Hill’. In the spring of 1817 there was great public rejoicing when it became known that the Princess was expecting a child who might one day be king or queen.
Oswell Blakeston (1907-1985), was born Henry Joseph Hasslacher, and created his nom de plume by condensing ‘Osbert Sitwell’, whom he admired, into ‘Oswell’ and adding his mother’s maiden name. He was a British writer and artist with wide interests, and one of his passions was follies; his role in bringing the genre to a wider audience deserves to be better known.