William Beckford(1709-1770), Slave owner and politician
Sitter in 15 portraits
Born in Jamaica, William Beckford's family had the largest sugar fortune in the West Indies. He was sent to England at the age of fourteen to be educated and after studying at Oxford, studied medicine at the University of Leiden. The sudden death of his father in 1735 forced him to return to Jamaica to run the family sugar plantations. Inventories show he owned 13 sugar plantations and approximately 3,000 enslaved people. On returning to England, he entered politics, becoming Lord Mayor of London in 1762. A radical reformer, he supported William Pitt.