Lecture | Fonthill Gifford
Sunday 29 April 2012 - 12:00 until 17:00
Fonthill Abbey has recently changed hands for the first time since 1840.
William Thomas Beckford (1 October 1760 – 2 May 1844), was an English novelist, a profligate and consummately knowledgeable art collector and patron of works of decorative art, a critic, travel writer and sometime politician, reputed to be the richest commoner in England. He was Member of Parliament for Wells from 1784 to 1790, for Hindon from 1790 to 1795 and 1806 to 1820. He is remembered as the author of the Gothic novel Vathek, the builder of the remarkable lost Fonthill Abbey and Lansdown Tower ("Beckford's Tower"), Bath, and especially for his art collection.
Amy Frost, curator of Lansdown Tower in Bath will give us a talk on the estate from its purchase in 1744 by William Beckford's father, through to the building of the Abbey and the subsequent sale in 1840. Amy Frost will guide us around the footprint of the ruins and explore the building's legacy.
After lunch we will be able to walk through the woods and terraces to the lake. The woods contain some marvelous examples of giant redwoods and specimen rhododendrons.