The two most expensive works in a sale of the gastronomy collection of the late Caroline Crisford held at Forum (25/20/12.5% buyer’s premium) were both published in 1654 and in each case sold well over estimate.
Featuring all manner of savoury and sweet dishes, a number of pies and tarts among them, and illustrated with three small woodcuts of pie shapes, was a first edition of Joseph Cooper’s The Art of Cookery refined…
Showing some foxing and staining throughout and in modern marbled boards, it was bid to £17,000 in the online-only auction that ended on June 23.
Condition did seem to be an issue with some of these lots, but they were of course used in the kitchen, not carefully perused in the library.
Billed as the only copy that could be traced at auction, a 1654 second edition of an English translation of a work by the founding father of ‘modern’ French cuisine, François Pierre la Varenne, the creator of many famous sauces and the literary source of many now very familiar cookery terms, sold at £16,000.
Bearing the joint bookplate of André L Simon and Eleanor Lowenstein and in a now broken 20th century binding, this copy of The French Cook… was last seen at auction in 2011, when as part of the Cetus Library it made £3800 at Bloomsbury Auctions.
Well-received when dished up
Other well-received dishes included, at £6500, a stained, spotted, browned and otherwise battered example of the 1747 first edition of Hannah Glasse’s The Art of Cookery (previewed in ATG No 2547), and The Ladies Delight: or, Cook-Maids Best Instructor, an anonymous work of 1759 that sold for £3200.
The collection was put together over a period of 40 years by Crisford, a collector of exceptional books on the subject of gastronomy spanning five centuries.