Eiríkur Benedikz was born in Iceland in 1907 and attended school in Reykjavík. He studied English in Copenhagen, Cambridge and Leeds, and married Margaret Simcock. He returned to Iceland in 1931 where he worked for several years teaching English, writing textbooks, translating and interpreting.
He became British pro-council in Reykjavík in 1938 and was called to the newly-established Icelandic Legation in London in 1942. He remained there for the rest of his career, retiring as Minister Counsellor in 1978. He had been the guide and mentor of a series of ministers and ambassadors from Iceland. He played a beneficent role during the Cold War. He was appointed Knight of the Falcon in 1954, and Grand Knight in 1963. He became associated with University College London where he contributed to Modern Icelandic teaching from 1951. He was also a stalwart of the Viking Society for Northern Research and served as president from 1959-1962.
Eiríkur was a scholar and bibliophile who built an extensive collection of Icelandic literature. Through a friendship formed at University College London with Christine Fell, a lecturer at The University of Nottingham from 1971 and Chair of Early English Studies from 1981, his library was given to The University of Nottingham by the Benedikz family in 1998, where it can now be consulted. The Eiríkur Benedikz collection doubled the university's existing holdings of Old Icelandic manuscript facsimiles. It includes early printed books and rare editions of sagas and rímur. It covers the study of Icelandic culture in both foreign travel literature and native imprints. Works in translation include, not only Latin and English versions of Icelandic originals but also titles of modern Icelandic by major European authors.