Nine albums containing engravings by the Flemish dynasty of printmakers, the Sadeler family, collected by Elizabeth Seymour Percy Northumberland (1716–1776) the first duchess of Northumberland. The engravings depict an array of themes and imagery from the Renaissance, many are reproductive and some are duplicated or triplicated. Seven of the albums may be identified by their bindings, known as ‘Harleian,’ as coming from the library of Robert Harley, first earl of Oxford (1661–1724), and his son.
These volumes were purchased at auction by Elizabeth Seymour Percy in 1745 and added to her extensive private collection then held in Northumberland House, London. Five were later rebound in the 1990s by Robin Hirst (the Harleian bindings are retained).The prints in these albums were arranged by the Harleys and have been window mounted between two sheets. Two of the albums bound in blue paste boards, containing engravings after Maarten de Vos were arranged by Elizabeth Seymour Percy using her own method of affixing prints to a sheet with margin tabs.
The albums were relocated to Syon House after the demolition of Northumberland House. When the albums were sold by Colnaghi in 1962 and purchased by the Society of Collectors, album six, which contained engravings by Aegidius Sadeler II, had been broken up and sold separately.