Saturday, 29 January 2011

My Landmark of the Week
Beckford's Tower

William Beckford (1760–1844) is best known for his extraordinary Gothic folly, Fonthill Abbey in Wiltshire. Its massive central tower, 276 feet high, eventually collapsed taking most of the house with it. Forced by debt to sell Fonthill, he bought two adjacent houses in Lansdown Crescent in Bath, and was soon again pursuing his fascination with towers, building another atop the hill above. This time he chose a more sober style, Greek Revival with a hint of Tuscany.

Born immensely rich, Beckford became a collector, patron, writer and eccentric builder. But he was also indiscreet in his private life, and, cold-shouldered by English Society, he lived in Bath as a recluse. Each morning, accompanied by his dwarf and pack of spaniels, Beckford would ride up to his Tower to play with his treasures in its opulent rooms, a reminder of which can be gleaned from the Willes Maddox ‘Views’ of the Tower c1844, on display in the first floor museum.

After Beckford’s death the Tower became a chapel and its grounds an elegant cemetery. More recently two flats, the Tower has now been repaired by the Beckford Tower Trust, who offered us the ground floor. With the proceeds of our Millennium Fund, we have made a Landmark to recreate the layout and something of the flavour of Beckford’s interiors, especially in the sumptuous Scarlet Drawing Room. And like him, those who stay here can climb the fine circular staircase to the ‘Belvidere’ just below the elaborate, gilded lantern and enjoy, all to themselves, what Beckford called ‘the finest prospect in Europe’.

Sleeps: 4

Beds: T D


  • Small garden
  • Adjacent parking

Please Note

The museum and the Tower (not the Landmark) will be open to the public on weekends and Bank Holiday Mondays from 10.30–5.00pm between Easter and October, and occasionally by appointment at other times.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments will be removed if considered inappropriate