Inspirational Designers ~ Earl Charles Spencer, 9th Earl of Althorp

Earl Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer, Viscount Althorp
came to visit us as the keynote speaker at 
Design Bloggers Conference 
on the last day of conference on
Tuesday afternoon…

Earl Charles Spencer began his talk 
sharing about the restoration work ongoing 
at his family’s ancestral home, 
Althorp House.  
He inherited the house at the age of 27 
when his father passed away and 
he lovingly shared a story about his father
and this home:  
The roof of this home, which is massive {see photo above}
was really in need of repair and replacing.  The house was originally a red brick Tudor and much smaller; 
in the late 1700’s, the architect and designer 
Capability Brown
said that red brick was bad and ugly, so 
the home was made grander and the red brick banished.  

A second major restoration happened back in the 1890’s, 
I believe Earl Spencer said, and 
his father Edward Spencer ~ the 8th Earl of Althorp ~ had gone about attending to other restoration work around the house. 
However, that roof still needed repair. 
Well, when asked about it one time, Earl Edward Spencer
“Well, I’ll leave that for Charles.”

Please forgive the terrible photo and cropping ~ luckily the beauty of Althorp shines through despite my wonky shot of the screen from where I sat and final editing! 😉

And this is how the current Earl Spencer came to 
become really involved in the caretaking and
history of his ancestral home.
Restoration work and taking visitors on tour around the
house as a kid for pocket-change led to 
his writing about the home.
He has written one 
main book
Althorp: The Story of an English House

All photos from Earl Spencer’s speech at DBCLA, 3/7/17
Lord Spencer already had a love for history
this being his major in college and 
writing books about England’s history and 
his home’s small part in that were just 
natural extensions of this love.

Here Lord Spencer is talking about some of the different rooms within his home.

In one room’s hallway there are these
incredible busts of famous British figures,
{you know me and statues!}
on the doorway side are hung paintings and
busts of Spencer family ancestors.

Photo taken of a slide Earl Spencer shared from his book ~ Althorp, The Story of an English House.
Earl Spencer doesn’t usually put his family
especially his children
in the spotlight or use them in his work.
He does this out of respect for them and to keep 
their family life private.
However, that being said, Lord Spencer shared
that two of his seven kids 
are on social media.

One of his sons, who is still pretty young,
interviewed someone rather famous one day, and 
this interviewee asked him, 
“Well, how many followers do you have?” 
“Four,” was the reply.
Holding back a smile, the man made a comment
or other to the effect that 
he thought
Earl Spencer’s son might have a few
more followers soon.
By the morning after young Spencer published 
his video blog interview 
with this rock-star gentleman,
the next day he had 
thousands of followers.
So, this is his son’s break into journalism.

Earl Spencer talked about the house 
being open to the public 60 days per year.
It was open when he was a boy, too, and as a child 
his father would have his children
lead people around the house
if they were home and 
this was how he learned his home’s history
and earned a little pocket change
at the same time.
Every large estate needed a way to generate revenue 
for its upkeep 
Althorp was no different.

With the restorations going on and the roof
finally under repair and replacement,
Earl Spencer collaborated with
Theodore Alexander
a furniture company
in recreating 650 pieces of furniture
at last count in its 
Althorp Living History 
The earl said that 40% were direct copies with every 
nick and dent recreated. {he says he has to get up really close and study
the pieces to be able to tell if its the copy or the original, these reproductions are “that good.”}
Another 40% are pieces with some adjustments and the remaining 20% are pieces inspired by originals at Althorp.

His parting advice for us Tuesday afternoon was
that when creating a brand as a designer
one needs to be authentic ~ 
be to true to one’s self and don’t collaborate
with a partner that doesn’t fit you.
Good advice, indeed!

In closing, I want to share how warm, charming 
and funny Earl Spencer was.
His love for his children and family, 
and for British history work harmoniously together.
Much like the talk I went to at Macy’s given by
Sarah, Duchess of York
a number of years ago,
his passions shine through in
everything he does.
I really enjoyed listening to his talk ~ 
his passionate zeal for his work as the current 
conservator of Althorp incorporating 
modernizations for the future into 
the timelessness of his ancestral home
really shines through ~ and
is something to which we can all relate 
as we create our homes.

Happy decorating!
Barb 🙂

Will be sharing with
Friday Feature Link Party ~ Oh, My Heartsie Girl!
Create Link Inspire
WOW Us Wednesday ~ Savvy Southern Style
Feathered Nest Friday ~ French Country Cottage

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