[Beckford (William)] Recollections of an Excursion to the Monasteries of Alcobaça and Batalha.


By the author of “Vathek”
London, Richard Bentley, 1835.

First edition. 8vo. Engraved mezzotint portrait frontispiece, half-title, xi, 228pp. Later full tan morocco gilt, by Riviere.

An attractive association copy of Vathek author William Beckford’s memoir of his travels in Portugal. Beckford first travelled to Portugal in 1787, mostly staying in the environs of Lisbon and Sintra; he returned in 1793, taking up residence in a coastal villa overlooking the Tagus estuary, from where he planned this excursion to the nearby monasteries. Although he found Alcobaça gloomy and “Saxon”, Batalha intrigued and enchanted him. It was also said to have had a significant influence on various aspects of his famous, constantly evolving designs for Fonthill Abbey.

This copy is from the library of Archibald Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery, with his bookplate and Epsom library bookstamp – many of the books from “The Durdans” were sold at auction in 1933, including eighty-six Beckford titles, which is presumably when this book came onto the market. The Rosebery family has a long association with Beckford, bibliographically, the first Lord Rosebery buying prodigiously from the auction of Beckford’s library at the Hamilton Palace sales in the 1880s. Further books and manuscripts from the Rosebery family collection, housed in Barnbougle Castle in Scotland, were sold at auction in 2009.

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