DIBDIN, Thomas (1776-1847). Bibliotheca Spenceriana. [With:] -- Aedes Althorpianae; or An Account of the Mansion, Books, and Pictures, at Althorp. [And:] -- A Descriptive Catalogue of the Books printed in the Fifteenth Century, lately forming part of the Library of the Duke di Cassano Serra. London: W. Bulmer and W. Nicol for the author, 1814-15, 1822, 1823.
Together 7 volumes, large 8° (260 x 170mm, and 315 x 235mm). Half-titles and errata. 22 and 33 engraved plates, illustrations throughout, some on india paper. (Some spotting.) Near-uniform contemporary polished calf, sides panelled in gilt and blind, marbled egdes (spines faded, some minor rubbing).
A complete set of 'THE HANDSOMEST AND MOST ELABORATE CATALOGUE OF A PRIVATE LIBRARY YET ISSUED' (Taylor, p. 75), comprising large-paper copies of the two supplementary works. 'Earl Spencer, was one of the greatest book-collectors, not only in English history, but even in the history of the world' (de Ricci). In 1892, the fifth Lord Spencer sold the Althorpe Library (minus the Oriental manuscripts which he later sold to the Earl of Crawford and Balcarres) for 250,000 to Mrs. Rylands (d. 1908), which now forms a major part of the John Rylands Library, Manchester -- this remains one of the most valuable transactions in library history. Taylor, p.9; Windle & Pippin A25-A27. (7)