SPENCER, George John, second Earl (1758-1834) -- Thomas Frognall DIBDIN (1776-1847). Bibliotheca Spenceriana; or A Descriptive Catalogue of the Books Printed in the Fifteenth Century, and of Many Valuable First Editions in the Library of George John Earl Spencer. London: W. Bulmer, 1814-1815. 4 volumes. -- Aedes Althorpianae; or An Account of the Mansion, Books, and Pictures, at Althorp; the Residence of George John Earl Spencer, K.G., to which is added, A Supplement to the Bibliotheca Spenceriana. London: W. Bulmer, 1822. 2 volumes. -- A Descriptive Catalogue of the Books printed in the Fifteenth Century, lately forming part of the Library of the Duke di Cassano Serra, and now the property of George John Earl Spencer, K.G., with a General Index of Authors and Editions contained in the Present Volume, and in the Bibliotheca Spenceriana and Aedes Althorpianae. London: W. Bulmer, 1823.
Together 7 volumes, large 8o (265 x 173 mm). Engraved plates, illustrations in text. Half brown morocco, marbled sides, spines gilt, t.e.g., others uncut, by Sotheran's (some minor rubbing). Provenance: C.H. St. John Hornby (bookplate); Conte Andrea Bocca (bookplate).
A complete set, uniformly bound, of "the handsomest and most elaborate catalogue of a private library yet issued" (Taylor, p. 75). It is the major work of Dibdin. "Earl Spencer, was one one of the greatest book-collectors, not only in English history, but even in the history of the world" (de Ricci). De Ricci gives an exhaustive account of the genesis of the Spenceriana (also known as the Althorpe Library), highlighting: the Roxburghe, Alchorne and Blandford sales and Spencer's acquisition of Count Reviczky's library. In 1892, the fifth Lord Spencer, at that time First Lord of the Admiralty (1835-1910), 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. Jackson, Dibdin, Nos. 36-38; Taylor, p.9. (7)