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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.
by Sir Joshua Reynolds
oil on canvas, 1782
On display at British Library, London, UK in the exhibition 'Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination'