Bibliotheca Spenceriana: 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
At his death, George Spencer (1758-1834) had created the greatest private library in Europe. At the time, many aristocrats were spending huge sums ... Show synopsis At his death, George Spencer (1758-1834) had created the greatest private library in Europe. At the time, many aristocrats were spending huge sums acquiring rare printed books. With monastic and aristocratic libraries in Europe being dissolved, collectors had access to thousands of examples. The Second Earl Spencer's interests were in English 'black-letter' printing, especially the works of Caxton, and continental incunables, particularly first editions of Greek and Latin classics. Thomas Dibdin (1776-1847) was employed as Spencer's librarian and visited Europe searching for new acquisitions. Published in 1814-15, this catalogue is of the earliest and rarest items in the collection. Each is described in detail, with reproductions of woodcuts and engravings, making this a fascinating record of one man's commitment to collecting the earliest examples of this revolutionary invention. Volume 2 covers the many first editions of Greek and Latin classics, predominantly from Italy, including examples by Valdarfer.