(Tollemache, Julia Anne Elizabeth) Roundell, Mrs. Charles & Harry Roberts | The Still-Room
First edition of this rare work on home distillation and other domestic processes written in part by the historian Julia Anne Elizabeth Tollemache (1845-1931), who also wrote histories of Ham House and the Cowdry Park estate, as well as the Dictionary of National Biography entry on the Tudor courtier Sir Anthony Browne.
A clear fore-runner of the late-20th and early-21st century focus on crafting and artisanal products, The Still-Room is a practical guide that, in its contents, design, and illustrations foregrounds historical methods. The introduction encourages women to embrace tradition rather than purchase goods in shops or “mechanically and brainlessly” follow recipes in cookbooks. The introduction states that, “it is housewifery to which nearly all the arts and sciences bring their secrets… To introduce science and order into the domestic kingdom is a task worthy of the finest intellect”.
The book’s contents describe the preparation of a variety of foods, including dairy, fish, eggs, pickled meat and vegetables, sauces and condiments, preserved fruits and vegetables, alcoholic drinks such as beer and cider, invalid food, ice cream, and mixed drinks that would be described today as cocktails. The section on distillation describes the operation of a still and offers recipes for a variety of liquors, cordials, and bitters, and is copiously illustrated with reproductions of early modern alchemical and medical illustrations, as well as photos of modern equipment.
London and New York: John Lane, The Bodley Head, 1903. Octavo. Original green cloth, titles to spine and upper board gilt, illustration of distillation apparatus to the upper board gilt, edges dyed dark green. Frontispiece and 7 plates, illustrations throughout the text. 2 leaves of ads at rear. Spine rolled and a little toned, cloth slightly rubbed, small spot affecting the gilt decoration on the upper board, endpapers lightly spotted. A very good copy.