Newspaper cuttings, 1780-1847, n.d.
The cuttings, dated between 1780 and 1847, were for the most part collected by Beckford, and folded into packets inside wrappers. A list of the contents by Beckford on the front of each wrapper gives the subject of each cutting (sometimes within a pen-and-ink frame or border), the name and date of the newspaper, and occasionally a comment. Many of the cuttings were made in 1839-44; many of the earlier ones were evidently arranged, or re-arranged, years after their dates - for example, a cutting of 1819 is enclosed in wrappers watermarked 1838 (MS. Beckford c. 69, fol. 1). A few of the earlier wrappers have subject headings by Beckford 'Fonthill Abbey', or 'Miscellaneous'. Some of the principal subjects covered are: theatre and opera; books - mainly travel, biography and novels; royalty - especially the travels of Queen Victoria in 1842-3; obituaries - especially of aristocrats and collectors; Napoleon; Portugal; Spain; some politics; examples of intolerance; oddities; dukes and duchesses; and some crime. There are a few small sketches by Beckford on some wrappers, including (c. 63, fol. 121) a pen-and-ink caricature, possibly of the Duke of Sussex, and pen-and-ink sketches of (c. 83, fol. 109) an 'antediluvian caterpillar 27 yards long', and (c. 67, fol. 139, c. 82, fol. 39, c. 83, fol. 13) small landscapes. A few letters and papers found amongst the cuttings have been removed and placed with other manuscripts; drawings by Beckford on scraps of newspapers, and printed items found here are now MS. Beckford c. 84, fols. 118-41, 152-97.
- 1780-1847, n.d.
Full range of shelfmarks:
MSS. Beckford b. 6-7, c. 63-83
The packets have been kept together as they were found, although this arrangement may possibly have been made after Beckford's death. The numbers in brackets after each entry are the box and packet numbers (12/1, 13/5 etc.) assigned or copied by Boyd Alexander in the 1950s. Within each packet the wrappers have now been arranged in chronological order by the earliest date on each wrapper; within the wrappers the cuttings have been arranged in the order of Beckford's list of contents (or chronologically, when there is no wrapper). There does not appear to be any significance in the arrangement within the packets or wrappers.