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Robertson, Hannah, Mrs. The young ladies school of arts. Containing, a great variety of practical receipts, in gum-flowers, filligree, japanning, shell-work, gilding ... &c. Also, a great many curious receipts, both useful and entertaining, never before published. York: Printed at the New Printing-Office, in Coppergate, for Mrs. Robinson, 1777. 12mo (15 cm; 6"). , xx, , 182 pp. $3,750.00
Robertson (née Swan, 1724–1800?) was the Scottish granddaughter of Charles II (her father being an illegitimate son of the king): She sub-titled her autobiography "a tale of truth as well as sorrow." She did not live at the economic level she thought befitted her lineage, characterizing it as "living in poverty." After two business failures (one her husband's, the other of her tavern) she turned to tutoring young ladies and taught them home economics, painting, decorative arts, and => housekeeping very broadly defined. Additionally, she wrote books to use in her teaching and to sell privately for additional income.
This small practical volume covers the topics mentioned above, even unto raising and caring for canaries and silkworms. Recipes are chiefly for preserving diverse foodstuffs, making wines and jellies and jams, etc., but household recipes for cosmetics, for candle making, and for cleaning, dying, repairing, etc. are also present, with these last helpfully addressing intricately specific problems, e.g., the cleaning of oil paintings, the removal of mold or mildew from linen, and the refreshment of soiled lace. A recipe for "Usquebaugh" is definitely => "curious" and "entertaining" in keeping with Mrs. Robertson's title-page promises, while her taxidermical instructions for preserving "birds with their plumage" are both exact and notably intimidating.
Considerable attention is paid to art: painting, japanning, gilding, making casts and impressions, and the symbolism of flowers, birds, trees, and insects. An extended discussion of the history and ceremonial dress of the Orders of the Garter and St. Andrews may derive from and bear witness to Mrs. Robertson's social longings! And because young ladies need to secretly write to beaus or friends, there are recipes for => invisible ink.
Pages 20, 41, 52–53, 62–66, 87, and 119 all have => Americana content showing the spread into daily life in Europe of New World crops and natural products.
"This book was first printed in Edinburgh in 1766 by Walter Ruddiman, and sold by the author herself at Perth, as well as by other booksellers. Second and third editions followed, also by Ruddiman for Robertson, the second with an additional engraved title page" (catalogue record, National Library of Scotland). This is the "fourth edition, with large additions." It is the first edition printed in York and was printed in the same year as the Edinburgh second and third editions.
Searches of ESTC, NUC, and WorldCat locate only four U.S. libraries reporting ownership of this edition.
Cagle, Matter of Taste, 966; Bitting 400; Axord 432; Maclean 124; Noling 349; ESTC T122647. Contemporary plain sheep, worn and with some stains on boards; rebacked, with raised bands, modest gilt ruling, and red leather spine label; new endpapers. A nice copy. (37210) Please RESHELVE This.
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