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