Early printed books collected by the second Earl Spencer were ‘generally regarded as the greatest in private hands in England or abroad.

On a visit in 1828 the artist Benjamin Robert Haydon professed himself amazed by “the first editions, vellum copies, rare Boccacios, unaccountable Dantes, impossible to be found Virgils, and not to be understood first editions of Homer.”

Joseph Friedman, 2011


The Second Earl Spencer commissioned Henry Holland to make alterations to this room, transforming it from a drawing room into a library to house part of his magnificent collection of books.

Holland was also responsible for the plain coved ceiling, the simple acanthus leaf frieze and for widening the original sash window to make the present French doors to the terrace, overlooking the private garden of Spencer House and The Green Park.

Indeed, Holland designed the original layout of the garden with an oval path and flowerbeds cut into the central lawn.

When to visit

Opening hours

Open every Sunday (except during August) from 10.30am – 4.30pm (last tour).
Access is by guided tour, which lasts approximately 1 hour.

Full visitor information