Box icon Richard Ford (1796-1858)

Murray's Spanish enthusiast

Richard Ford in Spanish costume

Perhaps the most famous of 'Murray's Handbooks for Travellers' was the Spanish edition by Richard Ford. Ford was an art connoisseur and writer famed for his knowledge of and passion for Spain.

He lived in Spain with his family for three years in the 1830s. There he rode some 2,000 miles, immersing himself in Spanish life and culture. As well as writing many notes he also sketched and drew many scenes.

Many years after leaving Spain Ford wrote 'Murray's Handbook for Travellers in Spain' (1845). Ford's friends advised him to pull the first edition of his Handbook from the press and suppress it. They feared his descriptions of Spain's ruin by the French wars might cause offence to French and Spaniard alike. When the book was finally published it was recognised as one of the most comprehensive and accurate accounts of the country.

Ford became Murray's Spanish expert, writing 'Gatherings from Spain' (1846) and many articles for the 'Quarterly Review'. He also a keen promoter of writers on Spain, including George Borrow, whose books 'The Zincali' (1841) and 'The Bible in Spain' (1843) were published by Murray.

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NRA name: Ford, Richard (1796-1858), art connoisseur and author.

The National Register of Archives (NRA) contains information on the nature and location of manuscripts and historical records that relate to British history in archival holdings in the UK and overseas. You can find more information on the National Register of Archives name authority catalogue.


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'Oh matador of authors! Oh bowelless executioner of eminent pens! Oh Murray my Murray.'
– Letter from Ford to John Murray III, 15 March 1846.


Map of one of the places Richard Ford travelled to:
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