Life at Fonthill 1807-1822 with interludes in Paris and London. From the correspondence of William Beckford, Translated and edited by Boyd Alexander.
London, Rupert Hart-Davis 1957.
8vo. 352pp, photo frontispiece, 9 photo plates. Publisher’s cloth, in dustwrapper.
Largely based on Beckford’s surviving letters to his friend, employee and closest confidant, Gaetano Franchi (1770-1828), known to previous Beckford scholars from their presence among the Beckford papers belonging to the Duke of Hamilton, but here for the first time properly considered and published. They provide an extraordinarily vivid picture of Beckford’s life during this period, focusing on Beckford’s activities as a collector of Old Master paintings, books and objets d’art ; on the completion of Fonthill Abbey and Beckford’s turbulent relations with his architect James Wyatt ; and on the complexities of Beckford’s financial affairs. Millington p.253.