William Beckford

1760 (London) – 1844 (Bath, England)

Constable visited the extremely wealthy Beckford to study his painting collection (including works by Rembrandt, Titian, Raphael, Velazquez and Claude). Turner also visited, commissioned by Beckford. Beckford himself had been taught drawing as a child by Alexander Cozens, and met Voltaire on his first visit abroad. He became West’s patron, matching the king’s thousand-pound annuity. Beckford’s own story that as a young child he was taught music by Mozart (only 3 years older) is widely doubted. His best-known work, the gothic novel ‘Vathek’, written in French rather than English, has influenced French as much as English literature.