Domestic Cookery.

By Mrs Rundell

Printed: 1852

Publisher: Thomas Johnson. London

Dimensions 9 × 14 × 4 cm

Language: English

Size (cminches): 9 x 14 x 4


Item information


Professionally rebound in tan calf. Red title plate, Gilt lettering and banding on the spine.

It is the intent of F.B.A. to provide an in-depth photographic presentation of this book offered so to almost stimulate your feel and touch on the book. If requested, more traditional book descriptions are immediately available

A well-kept rendition

A New System of Domestic Cookery, first published in 1806 by Maria Rundell (1745 – 16 December 1828), was the most popular English cookbook of the first half of the nineteenth century; it is often referred to simply as “Mrs Rundell”, but its full title is A New System of Domestic Cookery: Formed Upon Principles of Economy; and Adapted to the Use of Private Families.

Mrs Rundell has been called “the original domestic goddess” and her book “a publishing sensation” and “the most famous cookery book of its time”. It ran to over 67 editions; the 1865 edition had grown to 644 pages and earned two thousand guineas.

The first edition of 1806 was a short collection of Mrs Rundell’s recipes published by John Murray. It went through dozens of editions, both legitimate and pirated, in both Britain and the United States, where the first edition was published in 1807. The frontispiece typically credited the authorship to “A Lady”. Later editions continued for some forty years after Mrs Rundell’s death. The author Emma Roberts (c. 1794–1840) edited the 64th edition, adding some recipes of her own.

Sales of A New System of Domestic Cookery helped to found the John Murray publishing empire. Sales in Britain were over 245,000; worldwide, over 500,000; the book stayed in print until the 1880s. When Rundell and Murray fell out, she approached a rival publisher, Longman’s, leading to a legal battle.

Maria Eliza Rundell (1745 – 16 December 1828) was an English writer. Little is known about most of her life, but in 1805, when she was over 60, she sent an unedited collection of recipes and household advice to John Murray, of whose family—owners of the John Murray publishing house—she was a friend. She asked for, and expected no payment or royalties.

Murray published the work, A New System of Domestic Cookery, in November 1805. It was a huge success and several editions followed; the book sold around half a million copies in Rundell’s lifetime. The book was aimed at middle class housewives. In addition to dealing with food preparation, it offers advice on medical remedies and how to set up a home brewery and includes a section entitled “Directions to Servants”. The book contains an early recipe for tomato sauce—possibly the first—and the first recipe in print for Scotch eggs. Rundell also advises readers on being economical with their food and avoiding waste.

In 1819 Rundell asked Murray to stop publishing Domestic Cookery, as she was increasingly unhappy with the way the work had declined with each subsequent edition. She wanted to issue a new edition with a new publisher. A court case ensued, and legal wrangling between the two sides continued until 1823, when Rundell accepted Murray’s offer of £2,100 for the rights to the work.

Rundell wrote a second book, Letters Addressed to Two Absent Daughters, published in 1814. The work contains the advice a mother would give to her daughters on subjects such as death, friendship, how to behave in polite company and the types of books a well-mannered young woman should read. She died in December 1828 while visiting Lausanne, Switzerland.

Condition notes


Want to know more about this item?

We are happy to answer any questions you may have about this item. In addition, it is also possible to request more photographs if there is something specific you want illustrated.
Ask a question

Share this Page with a friend