Details
AN ENGLISH PAINTED CARD MODEL OF FONTHILL ABBEY
20TH CENTURY
Set on a painted plyboard and hardwood plinth base, the decoration refreshed
22 in. (56 cm.) high; 36.1/4 in. (92 cm.) wide; 20.1/2 in. (52 cm.) deep

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Lot Essay

The present model is of architect James Wyatt's extraordinary vision for Fonthill Abbey, Wiltshire, designed for William Thomas Beckford in the gothic taste and constructed in the late 1790s. The original design for the tower (shown here) and illustrated in John Rutter's Delineations of Fonthill, 1823, was problematic and when first built, standing 90 metres (300 ft.) high, it collapsed. Some six years later, the replacement tower of the same proportions also collapsed and was re-built again, this time in stone and after a further seven years of construction. Wyatt's method for the building of the tower proved unsustainable and the tower collapsed again in 1825.
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