previous next

[172] room are extraordinary, both for their beauty and number, especially the folios; and the binding of all the books, without being showy, is as rich and solid as money could make it. . . . . In the Long Library is a cabinet containing the Historical Plays of Shakespeare, illustrated by Lady Lucan, Lord Spencer's grandmother. I looked there among the early Italian and English books, where almost nothing was wanting that could be asked after or thought of.

The whole number of volumes in the library is about 110,000, no doubt the finest private library in the world, and all collected by the late Earl. The collection of rarities is said to have cost above £ 200,000. And so the present Earl finds it expedient to economize, which he does very cheerfully. . . . . He refused to let his father retrench, saying that he would do all that was necessary to restore the estate, which, to be sure, is not much encumbered. . . . . In the saloon, after dinner, we had a succession of curious things brought to us from the library, sketches by the old masters, illuminated books, etc., which occupied us till nine o'clock, . . . . when Lord Spencer read prayers in the dining-hall to the whole family. It was a very solemn scene, and became well the man and his position in society.

May 21.—Immediately after prayers and breakfast Lord Spencer invited us to take a walk and see the place. We went first to the village, . . . . afterwards to the church, which can be traced back to the fourteenth century, which, with its graveyard, is a picturesque object on all sides. In one of the chapels, or chancels, the Spencers lie buried, from soon after 1500 to the last Earl and Countess.

The park is the same John Evelyn describes, and different monuments in it, from 1567, show when different woods, still subsisting, were planted, and by whom . . . . . It is, too, the scene of Ben Jonson's beautiful masque ‘The Satyr,’ which was performed amidst its shrubbery when the Queen and son of James I. were entertained here on their way to London in 1603.

Indeed, Althorp has always been poetic ground; . . . . but, as Gibbon says, the brightest jewel in the coronet of the Spencers is the Faery Queen . . . . . Our walk, which did not seem long, Lord Spencer told us had extended above five miles.

When we were rested we went to look at the pictures . . . . .We had been constantly seeing in the dining-hall, saloon, and library, works of art, such as the famous Rembrandt's Mother, the fragment of a cartoon by Raffaelle on the murder of the Innocents, two or three portraits by Titian, etc., . . . . a collection of perhaps an hundred pictures

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Shakespeare (1)
Lucan (1)
Ben Jonson (1)
Gibbon (1)
John Evelyn (1)
Althorp (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1603 AD (1)
1567 AD (1)
1500 AD (1)
May 21st (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: