Skip to main content

Papers of William Beckford


  • How to

The papers consist of correspondence, a commonplace book and an agreement for the purchase by Beckford of a house in Lisbon. The papers relate to Beckford's affairs in Jamaica and Portugal.


  • Creation: 1787-1811


0.55 Linear metres (5 boxes)

Language of Materials

  • English
  • Portuguese

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MSS. Eng. lett. c. 499, fols. 1-2].

Please see our help page for further guidance on citing archives and manuscripts.

Full range of shelfmarks:

MSS. Eng. lett. c. 499-501; Eng. misc. e. 1236; Portuguese c. 1

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 12785


Papers of William Beckford, author, 1787-1811.

Biographical / Historical

William Beckford (1760-1844) was the author of the oriental tale Vathek and of several volumes of travel writings, the builder of Fonthill Abbey, and an important collector of paintings, objets d'art and books. Details are given in the Dictionary of National Biography.

Custodial History

Bought by Boyd Alexander from Christie's, 2 Apr 1975, lot 255 (MSS. Eng. lett. c. 499-500).

Bought by Boyd Alexander from Christie's, 2 Apr 1975, lot 256 (MS. Eng. lett. c. 501).

Hamilton Palace sale IV, 27 Nov 1883, lot 974; given by Gerald Wellesley to Charles Robin Hollway, 1917; bequeathed by Hollway to Wellesley, 1921 (MS. Eng. misc. e. 1236).

Bought by Boyd Alexander per A. Rosenthal Ltd., Oxford, 1968 (MS. Portuguese c. 1).

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers were bequeathed to the Library by Boyd Alexander, 1980.

Related Materials

See also:

  1. Papers of William Beckford (1760-1844) are MSS. Beckford a. 1-4, b. 1-8, c. 1-89, d. 1-29, e. 1-5, f. 1-5, g. 1-2.
  2. Papers of Boyd Alexander relating to William Beckford are MSS. Eng. lett. c. 687-695; Eng. misc. c. 888-893, d. 1288-1298, e. 1446-1458, f. 857-858; Facs. d. 291; Film 1766; Photogr. c. 5, d. 2; Top. gen. a. 23, fols. 1-2.
  3. Papers of John Hodgkin are MSS. Eng. misc. c. 146-148, d. 218-225, e. 198, f. 59-61; Lat. misc. d. 55-62, e. 84; Eng. lett. c. 11, d. 36.
Papers of William Beckford
Collection Level Description by Emily Tarrant; EAD version 2023 by Marion Lowman
EAD version 2023
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom