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Fonthill Abbey

Subject: Literature

The Gothic house in Wiltshire of the English writer and collector William Beckford (1759–1844); he is said to have spent over a quarter of a million on it in the course of sixteen years, ...

Fonthill Abbey

Fonthill Abbey   Reference library

The Oxford Guide to Literary Britain & Ireland (3 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2009
Subject:
Literature, Society and culture
Length:
222 words

... Abbey Wiltshire The remains of William Beckford's extravagant and fantastic mansion are in private grounds in Fonthill Abbey Wood, Fonthill Gifford, on a minor road c. 1 m. S of Fonthill Bishop on the B3089, 15 m. W of Salisbury. Beckford, a man of vast wealth, remembered for his oriental romance Vathek ( 1787 , reprinted 1970 ), inherited the house from his father and in 1790 employed James Wyatt to rebuild it in the Gothic style, complete with a high wall round the grounds to keep out unwanted visitors. Here he housed his great collection...

Fonthill Abbey

Fonthill Abbey   Reference library

Patrick Taylor

The Oxford Companion to the Garden

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2006

... Abbey , Wiltshire, England, was built from 1796 by William Beckford whose father, Alderman Beckford, had bought the ancient estate c .1736 . He enclosed almost 810 hectares/2,000 acres of ground in a high stone wall and started work on the existing garden. What exactly he did behind the wall was the subject of much speculation in his lifetime, as it has been since his death. It seems he made grottoes, designed by Josiah Lane ( 1753–1833 ), planted more than a million trees, and made an American Plantation on the banks of a lake. In 1822 Beckford...

Fonthill Abbey

Fonthill Abbey   Quick reference

The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2006

... Abbey the Gothic house in Wiltshire of the English writer and collector William Beckford ( 1759–1844 ); he is said to have spent over a quarter of a million on it in the course of sixteen years, but he was forced through debts in 1822 to sell the...

Fonthill Abbey

Fonthill Abbey  

Reference type:
Overview Page
Subject:
Literature
The Gothic house in Wiltshire of the English writer and collector William Beckford (1759–1844); he is said to have spent over a quarter of a million on it in the course of sixteen years, but he was ...
Design

Design   Reference library

An Oxford Companion to the Romantic Age

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2009
Subject:
History, modern history (1700 to 1945), Literature
Length:
6,178 words
Publisher:
Oxford University Press

...and abbeys. From the 1750s until Walpole's death in 1797 , Strawberry Hill was continuously extended to provide a suitable environment for its owner's collections of medieval and early Renaissance antiquities. Walpole's own Description (published in two editions of 1774 and 1784 , the latter extensively illustrated) was used by streams of visitors to the house who ensured it became the most celebrated example of the Gothic Revival of its day. James Wyatt was the leading architect of the Gothic Revival around 1800 , notably at Fonthill, where his...

Beaminster

Beaminster  

Reference type:
Overview Page
Subject:
Literature
(pr. ˈBĕminster) DorsetVillage on the A3066 and the B3162, 6 m. N of Bridport. It is celebrated in the lines by William Barnes, the Dorset dialect poet:Sweet Be'mi'ter that ...
William Beckford

William Beckford  

Reference type:
Overview Page
(1759–1844),a traveller and a man of great wealth, who spent large sums in the creation and decoration of Fonthill Abbey, a Gothic extravaganza, where he lived from 1796 until 1822. He is remembered ...
James Wyatt

James Wyatt  

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Overview Page
(1746–1813).English architect, one of the most outstanding, prolific, and successful of his time. He spent six years in Italy from 1762 before returning to England where he worked for the family ...
Bristol

Bristol  

Reference type:
Overview Page
Subject:
Literature
A city at the junction of the rivers Avon and Frome. It is not recorded before c.1020, but by 1066 was a flourishing port. The Normans built there one of the key strategic castles of England. By 1216 ...
Bath

Bath  

Reference type:
Overview Page
Subject:
Literature
In Somerset, is the site of a Roman spa, Aquae Sulis, probably built in the 1st and 2nd cents ad.In the 18th cent. Bath was transformed into a social resort by Richard (‘Beau’) Nash, who became ...
Thomas Moore

Thomas Moore  

Reference type:
Overview Page
Subject:
Literature
(1779–1852),born in Dublin, published The Poetical Works of the late Thomas Little (1801), under which pseudonym Byron refers to him in English Bards and Scotch Reviewers. From 1808 to 1834 Moore ...
Beckford, William

Beckford, William (1759–1844)   Reference library

The Oxford Guide to Literary Britain & Ireland (3 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2009
Subject:
Literature, Society and culture
Length:
46 words

...William ( 1759–1844 ), novelist and travel writer : b. London ( Soho : Soho Sq.); inherits Fonthill Abbey 1770 ; lives in Bath 1822–44 : buried in Bath. Vathek 1787 , Dreams, Waking Thoughts and Incidents 1834 , Recollections of an Excursion to the Monasteries of Alcobaça and Batalha 1835...

Beckford, William

Beckford, William (1760–1844)   Quick reference

The Concise Oxford Companion to English Literature (4 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2013
Subject:
Literature
Length:
58 words

...William ( 1760–1844 ) Author of the oriental tale Vathek . Indulging his passions for art, architecture, and music, he lavished his considerable fortune on the extravagant Fonthill Abbey and on continental travels, partly necessitated by homosexual scandal. His books of travels include Dreams, Waking Thoughts and Incidents ( 1783 ) and Italy ( 1834...

Beckford, William

Beckford, William (1760–1844)   Reference library

The Oxford Companion to English Literature (7 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2009
Subject:
Literature
Length:
60 words

...William ( 1760–1844 ) Author , born in London , educated privately. Indulging his passions for art, architecture, and music, he lavished his considerable fortune on the extravagant Fonthill Abbey and on continental travels, partly necessitated by homosexual scandal. He published Vathek , and books of travels, including Dreams, Waking Thoughts and Incidents ( 1783 ) and Italy ( 1834...

Beckford, William

Beckford, William   Reference library

Patrick Taylor

The Oxford Companion to the Garden

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2006

...From 1796 he built an extraordinary house, Fonthill Abbey , designed by James Wyatt ( 1746–1813 ), whose most notable feature was a spirelike tower 80 m/276 ft high. At Fonthill he occupied himself with gardening, although precisely what he did there is conjectural. The picture is made more complicated by the fact that Beckford's father, also William and usually known as Alderman Beckford, had made gardens for the house at Fonthill which preceded the Abbey. Alderman Beckford was making grottoes at Fonthill designed by Joseph Lane ( 1717–84 ) of Tisbury...

Beckford, William Thomas

Beckford, William Thomas (1760–1844)   Reference library

The Oxford Companion to Black British History

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Subject:
History, Regional and National History
Length:
245 words

...him to travel extensively in Europe, to fund his enthusiasm for building Fonthill Abbey in Wiltshire as a Gothic extravaganza to house himself and the books, pictures, and works of art that he collected on a prodigious scale. In the 1790s his income was estimated at well over £100,000 a year, and in 1809 the poet Lord Byron hailed him as ‘England's wealthiest son’. From the 1820s the income from his Jamaican estates declined significantly, and he was forced to sell Fonthill and major parts of his collections. Beckford is remembered as the author of the...

Folly

Folly   Reference library

Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable (19 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2013

...A classic folly was that of Fonthill Abbey, Wiltshire, a huge and sumptuous house built by William Beckford ( 1759–1844 ), author of the oriental tale vathek ( 1786 ), at a cost of some £273,000. It took 18 years to complete and was sold in 1822 for £330,000. William Hazlitt described it as a ‘glittering waste of industrious idleness’. Three years later the octagonal tower, 260ft (79m) high, collapsed, destroying part of the house. The rest of the mansion was demolished soon after, and the present Fonthill Abbey is the one built in 1859 by the...

Beckford, William

Beckford, William (29 Sept. 1760)   Reference library

The Oxford Dictionary of Art (3 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2004
Subject:
Art & Architecture
Length:
323 words

...to England he lived in eccentric seclusion at Fonthill in Wiltshire, where the architect James Wyatt built for him Fonthill Abbey ( 1796–1812 ), a huge mansion dressed in ecclesiastical garb; it was erected with reckless speed and the immense central tower collapsed in 1800 , soon after it was finished (it was rebuilt, but collapsed again in 1825 , and only fragments of the house now survive). In 1822 (by which time his vast income—based on sugar plantations—was in catastrophic decline) Beckford sold Fonthill. He moved to Bath, where he built Lansdown...

Beckford, William

Beckford, William   Quick reference

The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (5 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2015
Subject:
Art & Architecture
Length:
326 words

...to England he lived in eccentric seclusion at Fonthill in Wiltshire, where the architect James Wyatt built for him Fonthill Abbey ( 1796–1812 ), a huge mansion dressed in ecclesiastical garb. It was erected with reckless speed and the immense central tower collapsed in 1800 , soon after it was finished (it was rebuilt, but collapsed again in 1825 , and only fragments of the house now survive). In 1822 (by which time his vast income—based on sugar plantations—was in catastrophic decline) Beckford sold Fonthill. He moved to Bath, where he built Lansdown...

Moore, Thomas

Moore, Thomas (1779–1852)   Reference library

The Oxford Guide to Literary Britain & Ireland (3 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2009
Subject:
Literature, Society and culture
Length:
143 words

... 1807 ; acts in Kilkenny 1808 , 1809 , and 1810 ; m. and lives in London ( Strand : Trafalgar Sq. and St James's: Bury St.) 1811–12 , Kegworth 1812–13 , Mayfield 1813–17 , London ( Hornsey ) 1817 ; settles in Bromham 1818–52 ; visits Fonthill Abbey 1823 , Abbotsford 1825 , Newstead Abbey 1827 , Southwell 1827 , Hucknall 1827 , Bremhill , Cork , Alton Towers 1835 ; buried in Bromham . Anacreon (trans.) 1800 , Poetical Works 1801 , ‘The Meeting of the Waters’ 1807 , Irish Melodies 1807–35 , Twopenny Post Bay ...

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