“WE RARELY MEET WITH BUTTER PROPERLY MELTED”: 1814 MURRAY EDITION OF THE EARLIEST COMPLETE MANUAL OF HOUSEHOLD MANAGEMENT: A NEW SYSTEM OF DOMESTIC COOKERY
[RUNDELL, Maria Eliza Ketelby]. A New System of Domestic Cookery: Formed Upon Principles of Economy and Adapted to the Use of Private Families. By a Lady. London: John Murray, 1814. Thick 12mo, period-style three-quarter brown calf gilt, raised bands, red morocco spine label, marbled boards.
Early edition of Mrs. Rundell’s popular cookbook, providing “directions to unite a good figure with proper economy,” with a wonderful frontispiece of a crowded larder and nine full-page engraved plates of meat cuts.
Rundell originally prepared this work for the use of her married daughters, “editing and putting into order the hundreds of handwritten recipes and remedies she had compiled and collected… until the whole voluminous collection of a lifetime’s culinary trials and errors had been sorted and indexed” (Quayle). The Rundells were friends of London publisher John Murray, and a chance meeting in the summer of 1805 resulted in the publication of Maria’s newly completed manuscript. Rundell “became one of Murray’s most valuable properties [indeed, it saved his press from bankruptcy]… As the earliest manual of household management with any pretensions to completeness, it called forth many imitations” (DNB). First published in 1806 (i.e. December 1805)— with new editions appearing in each succeeding year— making this the 10th edition. Rundell’s New System reached its 69th edition in 1846. See Bitting, 410-11; Oxford, 135-36; Quayle, 118-19. Early owner signature.
A near-fine copy, with only a few occasional stains and marks of handling.