|Dimensions||15 × 20 × 8 cm|
Red calf spine with gilt titles and decoration. Black cloth boards. Has recently been professionally rebound.
F.B.A. provides an in-depth photographic presentation of this item to stimulate your feel and touch. More traditional book descriptions are immediately available.
A superb rebound edition now reconditioned for a further 50 years good use.
The book best known as Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management, also published as Mrs Beeton’s Cookery Book, is an extensive guide to running a household in Victorian Britain, edited by Isabella Beeton and first published as a book in 1861. Previously published in parts, it initially and briefly bore the title Beeton’s Book of Household Management, as one of the series of guide-books published by her husband, Samuel Beeton. The recipes were highly structured, in contrast to those in earlier cookbooks. It was illustrated with many monochrome and colour plates.
Although Mrs Beeton died in 1865, the book continued to be a best-seller. The first editions after her death contained an obituary notice, but later editions did not, allowing readers to imagine that every word was written by an experienced Mrs Beeton personally. Many of the recipes were copied from the most successful cookery books of the day, including Eliza Acton’s Modern Cookery for Private Families (first published in 1845), Elizabeth Raffald’s The Experienced English Housekeeper (originally published in 1769), Marie-Antoine Carême’s Le Pâtissier royal parisien (1815), Hannah Glasse’s The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy (1747), Maria Eliza Rundell’s A New System of Domestic Cookery (1806), and the works of Charles Elmé Francatelli (1805–1876). This practice of Mrs Beeton’s has in modern times repeatedly been described as plagiarism.
The book expanded steadily in length, until by 1907 it reached 74 chapters and over 2000 pages. Nearly two million copies were sold by 1868, and as of 2016 it remained in print. Between 1875 and 1914 it was probably the most often-consulted cookery book. Mrs Beeton has been compared on the strength of the book with modern “domestic goddesses” like Nigella Lawson and Delia Smith.
Isabella Mary Beeton (née Mayson; 14 March 1836 – 6 February 1865), known as Mrs Beeton, was an English journalist, editor and writer. Her name is particularly associated with her first book, the 1861 work Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management. She was born in London and, after schooling in Islington, north London, and Heidelberg, Germany, she married Samuel Orchart Beeton, an ambitious publisher and magazine editor.
In 1857, less than a year after the wedding, Beeton began writing for one of her husband’s publications, The Englishwoman’s Domestic Magazine. She translated French fiction and wrote the cookery column, though all the recipes were plagiarised from other works or sent in by the magazine’s readers. In 1859 the Beetons launched a series of 48-page monthly supplements to The Englishwoman’s Domestic Magazine; the 24 instalments were published in one volume as Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management in October 1861, which sold 60,000 copies in the first year. Beeton was working on an abridged version of her book, which was to be titled The Dictionary of Every-Day Cookery, when she died of puerperal fever in February 1865 at the age of 28. She gave birth to four children, two of whom died in infancy, and had several miscarriages. Two of her biographers, Nancy Spain and Kathryn Hughes, posit the theory that Samuel had unknowingly contracted syphilis in a premarital liaison with a prostitute, and had unwittingly passed the disease on to his wife.
The Book of Household Management has been edited, revised and enlarged several times since Beeton’s death and is still in print. Food writers have stated that the subsequent editions of the work were far removed from and inferior to the original version. Several cookery writers, including Elizabeth David and Clarissa Dickson Wright, have criticised Beeton’s work, particularly her use of other people’s recipes. Others, such as the food writer Bee Wilson, consider the censure overstated, and that Beeton and her work should be thought extraordinary and admirable. Her name has become associated with knowledge and authority on Victorian cooking and home management, and the Oxford English Dictionary states that by 1891 the term Mrs Beeton had become used as a generic name for a domestic authority. She is also considered a strong influence in the building or shaping of a middle-class identity of the Victorian era.
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