Beckford’s Fonthill. The rise of a romantic icon.
(Wilby), Michael Russell 2003.
8vo. 473 + (3)pp, 29 photo ills on (16) plates, one other photo text ill. Publisher’s cloth, in dustwrapper.
A substantial study, bringing together the scattered evidence for the design and construction of Fonthill Abbey from the early 1790s onwards, and the available information on Beckford’s sale of Fonthill to John Farquhar, and on Farquhar’s subsequent sale of its contents, and reproducing several contemporary accounts of Fonthill by more or less knowledgeable visitors. Gemmett also discusses the respective publications on Fonthill by Britton and Rutter and explores the degree of co-operation extended to them by Beckford and others (Rutter, without Britton’s established reputation as a writer and without Britton’s head start over him, made an altogether better job of organising his material and managed to be on friendly terms with every one who could assist with its publication).