Althorp, a Personal View

In June Althorp holds its annual Literary Festival and this year Theodore Alexander is sponsoring Charles, 9th Earl Spencer who will be discussing the unique history of his home, Althorp, and the generations who have lived there before him.

In Earl Spencer’s own words:

As you walk round this house, you will see the accumulation of paintings, furniture, china, and sculpture, which have appealed to the tastes of my family over the generations. I hope that, beyond the art, you will also notice that Althorp is very much a home.

I believe this is down to the fact that one family has used this house as a home, in an unbroken line.

“The exterior may be imposing, with its stark tiling; and the park may appear to be huge and impressive; but the inside is warm and welcoming.”

Explore the entire Althorp Living History Furniture Collection here for a reflection of the history, magnificence and English elegance of the house. Althorp Living History is a unique collection of furniture which includes reproductions from the house and pieces inspired by 500 years of history.

The books within the Library represent the remnants of the astonishing private library amassed by the Second Earl, which at one time was the finest private library in the world.

Althorp has been home to the Spencer family for 500 years and the introduction of a Festival of Literature is entirely in keeping with the history and heritage of the house. George John, Second Earl Spencer built up a library which was one of the finest private collections of books in Europe.

Detail of a portrait of George John, 2nd Earl Spencer, K.G. (1758-1834), by Adolfus Rooert Venables

Although not simply a classical collection, it was extraordinarily rare and included Papal Letters of Indulgence from 1452, the first edition of the ‘Mazarin’ Bible of 1455, the Mentz Psalter of 1457 and 57 original Caxton Bibles.

This month’s British Airways’ in-house ‘High Life’ magazine includes this question, posed to five famous authors: ‘Which is your favourite literary festival in the World?’  Three of them chose events in, respectively, India, Mexico and France. The other two  Bill Bryon and Fay Weldon – chose Althorp, as their global favourite.

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