Paper $60.00 ISBN: 9781787350472 Will Publish August 2018 For sale in North America only
Cloth $90.00 ISBN: 9781787350465 Will Publish August 2018 For sale in North America only

Fonthill Recovered

A Cultural History

Edited by Caroline Dakers

Fonthill Recovered

Edited by Caroline Dakers

Distributed for UCL Press

406 pages | 193 illustrations | 6 3/4 x 9 1/2 | © 2018
Paper $60.00 ISBN: 9781787350472 Will Publish August 2018 For sale in North America only
Cloth $90.00 ISBN: 9781787350465 Will Publish August 2018 For sale in North America only
Fonthill, Wiltshire, is typically associated with the writer and collector William Beckford, who built his Gothic fantasy house, Fonthill Abbey, there at the end of the eighteenth century. The collapse of the Abbey’s tower in 1825 transformed the name Fonthill into a symbol for overarching ambition and folly. But Fonthill is much more than the story of one man’s excesses, and the Abbey was only one of several important houses to be built there, all eventually consumed by fire or deliberately demolished—and all strangely forgotten by contemporary history

Fonthill Recovered draws on new research to explore the rich cultural history of this place where little remains today—a tower, a stable block, the ruins of what was once a kitchen, and an indentation in a field. The first half of the book traces the occupation of Fonthill from the Bronze Age to the twenty-first century. Some of the owners surpassed Beckford in terms of their wealth and political power—and even, in one case, their sexual proclivities. They include Charles I’s Chancellor of the Exchequer and the richest British commoner of the nineteenth century. The second half of the book consists of essays on specific topics, examining such crucial areas as the complex history of the designed landscape, the sources of the Beckfords’ wealth and their extensive art collection, and the recent appearance of the Abbey in a video game.
 
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