London and Melbourne: Ward, Lock & Co., Limited, Circa 1897. Leather bound. 584pp, with ads at front and rear. Octavo [20 cm], attractively rebound in half red leather over marbled boards, with raised spine bands and gilt-stamped spine title and devices. Faint shelfwear. Interior is unmarked. B&W and color plates. Item #51832
Isabella Beeton (1836-1865) authored the monumental work of Victorian domesticity, Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management. She was only twenty-four when it was published, and died of complications related to childbirth four years later. Beeton's husband sold the rights to her work to Ward, Lock, & Co., who attempted to conceal her lack of involvement in subsequent new editions by failing to acknowledge her death.
By the time this book was published at the turn of the century, Beeton was (literally) a household name, much like Betty Crocker today (except, of course, that Beeton was a real person). While the preface asserts that "years ago, Mrs. Beeton and her Publishers felt the demand for . . . Cookery Books that would meet the requirements of smaller households than those in which such a very comprehensive volume such as MRS. BEETON'S HOUSEHOLD MANAGEMENT is a necessity; consequently they published the present volume," it is clear that there is no more of Beeton in this book than there is turtle in its Mock Turtle Soup. There is, however, plenty to interest the student of late Victorian culture.