Althorp Inspirations for 2012 – The Nine Earls and One Secret Romance

John Spencer, 1st Earl Spencer, 19th December 1734 – 31st October 1783

Theodore Alexander is continually inspired by the historical heritage of the Spencer Family who have lived at Althorp for over 500 years.

In 2012 you will see at selected Althorp Living History Retailers a new “Nine Earls” selection which encompasses signature pieces in tribute to each of the Earls correlating with his designated period in history.

The story begins with John, 1st Earl Spencer who we have profiled before on Theo.

Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough by Sir Godfrey Kneller

John Spencer was born at Althorp in the winter of 1734. As heir to the fabulous wealth of Sarah Jennings, dowager Duchess of Marlborough, John was to live a life of privilege almost unimagined by is contemporaries which allowed him to indulge his taste for the finest in art and furnishings throughout his life.

In the mid 18th century John built Spencer House in London, one of the most ambitious aristocratic townhouses ever built in London, and one of the few great private palaces of the period to survive to this day.

At Althorp he added over five thousand volumes to the library and cultivated an artistic circle of friends that included the actor David Garrick and the notable politician Charles Fox.  Although he took a great interest in politics, the terms of the Duchess of Marlborough’s will did not allow him to accept a court or parliamentary position. In 1765 he was created 1st Earl Spencer by King George III.

As a young man he demonstrated his notable romantic streak in marrying his first love, Georgiana Poyntz, in a secret ceremony in the Oak Bedroom at Althorp whilst his guests danced the night away in the ballroom below.

The ‘Secret Romance’ is an interpretation of the original piece that stood in the Oak Bedroom on the day John Spencer was married.  It is characterized by a fine walnut burr veneer and impeccable hand inlaid detailing.


Secret Romance

Secret Romance

Each week for the next 8 weeks we will feature one of our new pieces inspired by one of the successive Earls of Althorp.

Next week, a unique hand carved chair that celebrates the historic Battle of Trafalgar, Horatio Nelson and the 2nd Earl Spencer.

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