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English recipe book

18th century - early 19th century
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English recipe books, 18th-early 19th centuries
  • Archives and manuscripts

About this work


English medical and culinary recipe collection in various hands, with a few miscellanous commonplaces. The main component of the text is a fair copy suite of recipes in a fine, mid-18th century calligraphic hand (ff. 1-31v), but without obvious intellectual arrangement and with few cited authorities: the only medical one seems to be a 'Mr Clement', whose recipe for rheumatism is transcribed (f. 6). Several later contributors have added further recipes and commonplaces, including biographical details of a certain Thomas Steward (1703-1770), of Lewisham (f. 36); a copy of the deed of appointment of one James Owen as 'menial servant and waterman' to the Duke of Newcastle, in 1795 (f. 37); and an account of the 'subscribers to Mr Hone after 3 trials 3 separate days (pleaded is [sic] own Cause' (ff. 41-42), [a reference to the notorious trials of the political writer and publisher William Hone (1780-1842) for blasphemy in December 1817].

An additional booklet containing further recipes in various later 18th and/or early 19th century hands has been bound in and constitutes ff. 43-61.


18th century - early 19th century

Physical description

1 volume 1 volume: approx. 210 x 165 mm. 61 ff. (original pagination 1-63 and unnumbered). There is an unnumbered detached leaf containing recipes in the same hand as that on ff. 48v-49, which may or may not have formerly been bound in. Original limp vellum covers. Front cover inscribed 'The Receipt Book Written in the Year 1735'.

Biographical note

There is some evidence that the compilers of this collection were London-based, possibly in the southern suburbs: inside the front cover is inscribed 'The hours to see Docter Letsom is [sic] monday & Fryday from 8 oclock to Eleven & Thursday and Saturday from 4 to 6' [presumably a reference to John Coakley Lettsom MD (1744-1815), who lived in Camberwell]; there is a description of a gravestone in Lewisham on f. 36; and on f. 42v another hand has written 'Mr Dallas to be Heard off A [sic] No 102 Upper Thames Street'.

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