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William Beckford (1760-1844), Writer, collector and eccentric dilettante

Sitter in 2 portraits
Novelist, collector and patron of the arts, the eccentric William Beckford was the son of a famous Lord Mayor of London and heir to a West Indian slave trade fortune. Aside from being one of the richest men in England, Beckford was best known for his Oriental-Gothic horror novel Vathek, which he wrote aged 22, and for his extravagant Gothic-style residence Fonthill Abbey, with its 300 foot tower, which he built on his estate near Salisbury.

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William Beckford

by Sir Joshua Reynolds
oil on canvas, 1782
NPG 5340


William Beckford

by Frederick Bromley, published by Henry Graves & Co, after Sir Joshua Reynolds
mezzotint, published 1862 (1782)
NPG D691