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The Althorp estate in Northamptonshire, England
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Charles, the Ninth Earl Spencer
The Althorp Living History home furnishing line will get a royal introduction when Charles, the Ninth Earl Spencer presents the collection to The Shops at Carolina Furniture of Williamsburg on Aug. 12.
The collection features hand-crafted replicas of furniture, lighting, mirrors and vases designed after the extensive furniture collection at the Althorp estate in Northamptonshire, England.
Spencer, a celebrated author and former NBC nightly news correspondent, is the brother of the late Princess Diana. Althorp was home to Diana throughout childhood until her marriage to Charles, Prince of Wales.
Althorp came into Spencer's possession in 1992, but the estate has been in the Spencer family for more than 500 years. As the new owner of the 15th century Tudor-style house, he began crucial restoration projects including replacing the roof and reworking the exterior in 2009.
“[Spencer] will be here to talk about some of the pieces, the inspiration behind the pieces, the history of the family, and the history of the estate,” says Joseph Steele III says, president of The Shops at Carolina Furniture of Williamsburg.
Manufactured by Theodore Alexander, Spencer first endorsed Althorp Living History home furnishings in 2005 as one of Althorp's revenue projects. A portions of the line's proceeds go towards the restoration of the estate and the protection of its legacy.
Due to its unbroken line of ownership, Althorp has acquired a beautiful and impressive assortment of 17th-, 18th-, and 19th-century furniture, porcelain, and paintings. Its furniture is well-known to collectors due to the quality of the estate's interior.
“The majority of the pieces were sanctioned to be built for that family,” Steele says. “They were ordered and custom-built by English craftsmen for the Spencer family, and there's a story behind every piece.”
Now Theodore Alexander and Spencer have recreated the line to emulate those original pieces as they look today. “They are continuously repurposing, re-imagining and redoing the line,” Steele says. “[The line is] obviously based in English classic form. However, especially with this last introduction, they've really gone after a more primitive form and more casual look... a little more worn in and beat up, like how it really looks today and not like it did when they first made it... [These pieces] are something that you're not afraid to live on and live around.”
Charles Spencer will present Althorp Living History home furnishings to The Shops at Carolina Furniture of Williamsburg on Wednesday, August 12 from 4:30 p.m to 6:30 p.m. A portion of the collection will be on display. He will be signing and dating all pieces on display during the event.