What Fannie Farmer or Julia Child were to American domestic and social history, Isabella Beeton (1836-1865) was surely that in Great Britain. Her huge compendium of information and advice on every aspect of feeding a family and of running a well-regulated home is one of the most famous how-to-do-it manuals of all time.
Published in 1861 (exactly one hundred years before Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking), it has sold in the many hundreds of thousands, and to this day books derived from “Mrs. Beeton” are still being published. Her sensible, level approach to the hundreds of topics she treated set a standard still largely followed.
Early copies of this important book are much admired and collected, not only because of its reputation but because the editions of the first thirty or forty years are uncommonly handsome, with fine stamped bindings, well-designed interiors, and craftsmanlike chromolithographed color plates.
We are offering the revised edition of 1869, published—and briefly introduced—by Isabella Beeton’s husband, an enterprising man who turned her writings into a highly profitable industry. The copy is one of the best we have been privileged to carry. The massive volume (1139 pages plus 32 pages of advertising and twelve color plates), as is commonly the case with very large books, was originally disbound and showed open hinges. It has been tastefully and authentically rebound in dark green, with the original ornate red-and-gold spine laid on. An immensely attractive volume for a collector or to serve as a significant gift.