Britton Fonthill Abbey Small Paper
Author: John BrittonPeter Jones
Graphical and Literary Illustrations of Fonthill Abbey 1824
By John Britton
Printed In Chiswick by C. Wittingham For John Britton, Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, Brown and Green, Taylor, and Clarke
The Volume is in Very Good Condition Rebacked in plain paper boards, with lettering along the spine: externally the boards and spine are lightly scuffed in general, with some staining and board corners bumped. Internally the leaves are generally clean and amply margined, with some general dampstaining on several leaves, with some mild toning or foxing otherwise.
The Volume is Complete in All Respects with frontispiece, engraved title, plan of the abbey, and eight plates, two of which are colour aquatints. See below for pagination & dimensions.
Of Beckworth’s Folly
William Thomas Beckworth was Plantation owner, author and art collector, know for his extravagant building projects and extensive art collection. At the age of ten, he inherited a fortune from his father William Beckford, who had been twice a Lord Mayor of London, consisting of £1 million in cash (£125 million as of 2015), an estate at Fonthill in Wiltshire (including the Palladian mansion Fonthill Splendens), and several sugar plantations in Jamaica, worked by African slaves. He spent much of his own time touring the continent and writing
The opportunity to purchase the complete library of Edward Gibbon gave Beckford the basis for his own library, and James Wyatt built Fonthill Abbey in which to house this and the owner’s art collection. Lord Nelson visited Fonthill Abbey with the Hamiltons in 1800. The house was completed in 1807. Beckford entered parliament as member for Wells and later for Hindon, quitting by taking the Chiltern Hundreds; but he lived mostly in seclusion, spending much of his father’s wealth without adding to it.
In 1822 he sold Fonthill, and a large part of his art collection, to John Farquhar for £330,000 (£27.1 million as of 2015), and moved to Bath, where he bought No. 20 Lansdown Crescent and No. 1 Lansdown Place West, joining them with a one-storey arch thrown across a driveway. In 1836 he also bought Nos. 18 and 19 Lansdown Crescent (leaving No 18 empty to ensure peace and quiet). Most of Fonthill Abbey collapsed under the weight of its poorly-built tower during the night of 21 December 1825. The remains of the house were slowly removed, leaving only a fragment, which exists today as a private home. This is the first part which included the shrine to St Anthony—Beckford’s patron when he was living in Lisbon.
Pagination & Dimensions
The volume is paginated as follows: [v]-viii, -68, [viii]. The volume collates as follows: [a]-b2, B-H4, I-L, [M]2. The volume measures about 31 cm. By 25 cm. By 1 cm. Each leaf measures about 300 mm. By 240 mm.