September 29, 2009

Althorp House and Earl of Spencer

A few weeks ago I shared with some Facebook friends my upload of my visit with the Earl of Spencer (Charles Spencer, Princess Diana's brother). There were about 30 of us at a showroom in Chicago as he spoke about and discussed pieces from Theodore Alexander, the company that is reproducing nearly all the antique furniture in the Spencer family home Althorp House.

Althorp House is a family home, owned by the Spencers for 5 centuries and 20 generations. Through the years they have amassed a huge collection of art, furniture and accessories. The story Spencer delivered is that the owner of Theodore Alexander (this is a spin off of Maitland-Smith) and he met and after a great afternoon of meeting the Earl invited David Koehler the president of the company to visit for a few days and take pictures of the furniture in the house. The result? Over 10,000 photos including detail shots of the furniture were taken.

The Earl of Spencer looks at all the designs and approves or disapproves each drawing and sample. So far he claims he's never rejected a piece of furniture.

An assumption people have is that the Earl is making millions off of this for his own pocket... uh... not really... Charles Spencer admitted that the house is so large and such a maintenance expense (for example, the house sits on 14 thousand acres which have to be maintained as well) that besides the annual revenue from visits to the house/musuem and to Diana's memorial, the proceeds go directly to the upkeep of the house.

The Earl put it this way "The House has been protecting 500 years of rare and special furnishings, it's now time for this furniture to take care of the House..."

You can read more about Althorp House by going online at