The bibliophile aristocrat George Spencer (1758–1834) employed Thomas Frognall Dibdin (1776–1847) as his librarian for life. The second earl had amassed the greatest private library in Europe, housed at Althorp, and Dibdin was tasked with cataloguing the vast collection and sourcing suitable editions to add to it. In 1814, Dibdin began publishing his four-volume catalogue, Bibliotheca Spenceriana (also reissued in this series). Aedes Althorpianae was published in two volumes in 1822, and although it is to a great extent devoted to further details of the great library and its contents, it is also illuminating for its detailed history of Althorp and the Spencers. Its descriptions of the internal decoration of Althorp, particularly its art, are accompanied by numerous illustrations. Volume 1 includes descriptions of the various illustrated works in the library, such as a volume of original drawings by Pieter Bruegel the Elder and a sumptuous illuminated Magna Carta.