Rombauer.   Irma Starkloff     Rare 1936 1st Trade' edition, with Irma's signature.
The Joy of Cooking
By IRMA S. ROMBAUER. A Compilation of Reliable Recipes with a Casual Culinary Chat - Illustrations. Marion Rombauer Becker. THE BOBS-MERRILL COMPANY. Publishers. INDIANAPOLIS NEW YORK.
FIRST TRADE EDITION -- 1ST ISSUE. 1936. 240 x 170mm. 1fep. Title page. [1] 1p Dedication to Rombauer's friend and secretary Mary Josephine White. Verso 1p Forward. 4p Contents. Half title. [1] 1-628. 2fep. Original blue and cream/light brown multi lined checked cloth boards with black square on the front cover with the book title. Original spine very nicely relaid on blue leather with original book title laid down. Covers very slight fading and browning. Internally very slight age browning, as expected. Overall a very nice solid copy of the very scarce 1936 edition, first issue. NB: Some bibliographers state the first edition - first issue comes only in a yellow checked cover. This is not true. This copy in blue checked cover is the second one seen as well as one with a yellow cover, both true 1st editions, 1st issues with no further issued printing information. ITEM # 2. ENCLOSED: 290 x 195mm 1 sheet (2 pages) from the guest book kept by Rose Oller Harbaugh. She was the long-time popular manager of the book department of the large department store 'Marshall Fields' in Chicago. She often sponsored book signings and other literary events, keeping a guest book of visiting authors. This is one such page from the guest book, dated June to October 1945, featuring some of that year's best-selling authors, including Irma S. Rombauer. Her signed Autograph note states: "With many thanks to a fine woman/Mrs. Harbaugh. Fondly/Irma S. Rombauer".
- This edition is generally known as the 'First Trade Edition’ of 1936. Irma Rombauer, recently widowed, (her husband committed suicide) sunk half of her inheritance of $6000.oo into a self-published run of 3000 copies of the 1931 ‘family edition’ of the Joy of Cooking and gave them out to family, friends and acquaintances. Published by A.C. Clayton of St Louis (a company which had never published a book before but printed labels for fancy St Louis shoe companies and for Listerine). Eventually all 3000 copies were given away or sold. Encouraged by the response, Irma Rombauer, on May 1st, 1936, published the first ‘trade edition’ of the Joy of Cooking with Bobbs-Merrill Company - Indianapolis and New York. The larger 1936 edition contained 628 pages and copies published were: 1st printing - 10,000 of which a respectable 6,838 copies sold in the first 6 months. 2nd printing of 1938 – 10,000. 3rd printing of 1939 – 10,000. 4th printing of 1940 – 10,000. 5th printing of 1941 – 10,000. 6th printing of 1941 – 10,000. Between 1936 and the end of 1942 -- 52,151 copies of the first trade edition were sold. The 2nd edition of June 7th 1943 had an increased 884 pages and 167,261 copies were sold. The first trade edition pioneered a new recipe format: first a chronological listing of ingredients and then instruction for preparation, what we now know as 'action format'. Unfortunately, Irma signed a contract which assigned the copyright of both the 1931 and 1936 editions to Bobbs-Merrill, a situation that would in the years to come, badly strain both parties. Anne Mendelson author of 'Stand Facing the Stove' informs; The editions that mark genuine stages of the book's developement are eight in number: the original privately published 'Joy of Cooking' [1931], this Bobbs-Merrill edition [1936] the best-selling wartime edition [1943], the first postwar edition [1946], (actually printed from the 1943 plates with a very few changes), the first Rombauer-Becker edition [1951], the unauthorised edition [1962], the first authorised edition prepared by Irma's daughter, Marion (Rombauer) Becker [1963], and Marion's last revision [1975]. ITEM # 2. ENCLOSED: Including Rombauer's, there are in all 8 signatures. 2 unidentified signers on the front and verso of the one page. The other authors who expressed very nice sentiments to Rose Harbaugh are: A. Whitney (1903-2008) wrote over 76 books. more than 50 million copies in print in paperback alone. Ruth Hunter, a supporting actress in Broadway plays, portrayed Ellie Mae in the stage premier of Tobacco Road (1933). In 1945 she published a memoir, 'Come Back on Tuesday'. Russel A. Byrd a long haul bus driver for Greyhound, wrote about his experiences in 'Russ's Bus: Adventures of an American Bus Driver'. While this was a humorous book, Byrd also wrote about highway safety in 'Highway Killers and Driving to Live'. He was a leader of the National Drivers Association for the Prevention of Traffic Accidents. Aleksander Janta (1908-1974) was a Polish poet who published his first verses at age 20. He escaped from a German POW camp. After World War II, he emigrated to the US as a journalist, author, and cultural force in the Polish-American community. Harry J. Owen published a modern version of the ancient fable in 1945, 'The Scandalous Adventures of Reynard J. Fox', a story first published in Middle English by William Caxton, England's first printer. This is a very scarce copy of the 1st trade edition, made rare with the inclusion of the very unusually formatted page with rare signature of Irma Rombauer.

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Modern category
ref number: 10937

Rombauer.   Irma Starkloff     - A handsome miniature
The Joy of Cooking
by Irma S. Rombauer. Marion Rombauer Becker and Ethan Becker. Illustrated by Laura Hartman Maestro. RUNNING PRESS. PHILADELPHIA. LONDON.
Text block 2 1/2"W x 3"H. Pp. Half title. Title page. 1pp Contents. (6-252) Beautifully bound in full mid-tan calf with gilt borders to boards. With the binding 2 3/4"W x 3 1/4"H x 1 1/2" thick. Spine with raised bands, gilt lines and two labels - one red and one black with gilt lettering. All edges gilt. Internally - as new.
- This little thick tome is an unusual and very handsome edition of "the Joy of Cooking. A Running Press Miniature Edition, copyrighted 1997 by Simon & Schuster Inc. A real collectors item for a miniature or cookery book collection.

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Modern category
ref number: 10938

Rombauer.   Irma Starkloff     - The very rare first 'Family' edition
The Joy of Cooking
By Irma S. Rombauer. A Compilation of Reliable Recipes with a Casual Culinary Chat - Illustrations. Marion Rombauer.
FIRST FAMILY EDITION. 1931. 8vo. 204 x 140 mm. 1fep. Title page. Verso Printed by A.C. Clayton Printing Company, St. Louis, MO. 1p Un-headed preface by Rombauer. [1] 1-2 General Rules. (1) Contents. [1] 24p Index. 1-395. Several handwritten recipes on last 7 blanks and the paste-down. Very slight age yellowing to pages but internally very clean. Original full blue pebbled cloth binding with gilt lettering on the front cover which is very slightly marked. Overall in very good condition. A nice copy of an extremely rare book. NB: The errata line on page 370, handwritten by Irma Rombauer for the missing first line at the top of the recipe for Orange Paste with Nuts. This is found in all other copies of the first Family edition.
- This edition is generally referred to as the 'First Family Edition' of 1931. Published by A.C. Clayton of St Louis (a company which had never published a book before but printed labels for fancy St Louis shoe companies and for Listerine). Irma Rombauer, fifty-four years old and recently widowed, (her husband committed suicide) and with the encouragement of her son, Edgar Jr., and her daughter, Marion, sunk half of her inheritance of $6000.oo into a self-published run of 3000 copies of the 1931 edition and gave them out to family, friends and acquaintances. Eventually all 3000 copies were given away or sold. The book was priced at $2.25 with Irma receiving $1.17. Encouraged by the response, Irma Rombauer, in 1936, published the first ‘trade edition’ of 'The Joy of Cooking' with Bobbs-Merrill Company - Indianapolis and New York and being sold for around $3.oo. This is a cookery book that imbibes the definitive American character trait of restless innovation and change. The first chapter after the large early index is titled Cocktails. There one finds unusual items such as a 'Clam Juice Cocktail' (a concoction of seasoned, bottled Clam Broth with Paprika, Horseradish and Tabasaco Sauce). 'Oyster Cocktail with Catsup' follows with 'Shrimp in Grapefruit' following later. The next chapter is Canapes and Sandwiches, with one recipe for 'Pastry Snails'. Irma prefaces this recipe by informing us that "If the approval of guests is to be taken as a criterion of excellence, this is the prize winning Canape". This also highlights another fine American trait; that of generosity. Bearing in mind the date this book was printed, those unusual recipes also sit with other good, well known, early American dishes. If one takes into account that the most recent 'Joy of Cooking' issue celebrating the seventy-fifth anniversary edition, printed Oct. 31st 2006, and numbering a whopping 1,152 pages, proves the enduring affection in which this cookery book is held. If one takes into account the very good accurate recipes of later modern versions and the fact it is one of the longest, continuously printed cookery books, then it must be viewed undoubtedly, as one of the great domestic cookery classics.

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Information

Modern category
ref number: 10936

Rose.   Giles     - Complete copy of one of the rarest cookery books
A perfect School of INSTRUCTIONS For the Officers of the Mouth:
SHEWING The Whole ART of A Master of the Household, A Master Carver, A Master Butler, A Master Confectioner, A Master Cook, A Master Pastryman. Being a Work of singular Use for Ladies and Gentlewomen, and all Persons whatsoever that are desirous to be acquainted with the most Excellent ARTS of Carving, Cookery, Pastry, Preserving, and Laying a Cloth for Grand Entertainments. The like never before extant in any Language. Adorned with Pictures curiously Ingraven, displaying the whole Arts. By Giles Rose one of the Master Cooks in His Majesties Kitchen. LONDON, Printed for R. Bentley and M. Magnes, in Russel-street in Covent Garden, 1682.
FIRST and SOLE ENGLISH EDITION. 12mo. 2fep. Title Page with single line border. 8pp The Dedication. 10pp To the Reader. 4pp The Contents. 1-563 [1] 2fep. Forty two woodcut illustrations (most of which are full page) in the text. Internally very clean with no browning or foxing. Contemporary dark brown calf with double blind-fillet around the sides. Red morocco label with gilt lettering. Raised bands and overall, a nice patina. In it's original complete state; an exceptional rarity.
- The rare English edition of 'L'Ecole Parfaite des Officers de Bouche' first French edition of 1662. One of the most important and popular titles of 17th century French Gastronomy. This English edition comprises of the six original books, (and not five as is sometimes supposed) 'Le Maistre de Hostel; or, Steward of a Family; 'Le grand Escuyer tranchant; or, The Great Master Carver; 'Le Sommelier Royal; or, The Royal Butler; 'Le Confiturier Royal; or, The Royal Confectioner; 'Le Cuisinier Royal; or, The Royal French Master Cook; and 'Le Pastissier Royal; or, The Royal Pastry Cook'. Including numerous primitive woodcuts depicting table settings and various carving methods, including more than fifty ways of carving fruit. An interesting aside is that the engraved plates mirror (especially the fruit carvings) the very rare treatise on the art of carving by Jacques Vontet's - 'L'art de Trancher la Viande et Toutes Sortes des Fruits' [circa Lyon 1647]. Oxford states "It seems an excellent book, although it contains some strange things: 'Wine for the Gods', 'Sauce d'Enfer', 'Sheeps Feet for an Afternoon drinking" There are directions for folding napkins. There are dozens of ways of cooking eggs -- 'Eggs a l'Intrigue', 'Eggs a la Negligence', etc - and dozens of different pies and tarts, including 'a tart of frogs', 'a tart made with tortoise' and Sausages made from the Brain of a Capon'. Simon Gough states with insight in one of his wonderfully eccentric catalogues 'Food for Thought' -- "it is curious how few great collections of cookery books contain this volume". By way of an answer, he further proclaims, -- "It is one of the rarest cookery books in the English language" In past years at auction, there are no copies in any of the great cookery book collections of Schraemli, Westbury, Simon, Lambert, Crahan, Wretman, Marks. There was an incomplete copy from Simon Hall's collection, sold at the Dominic Winter Book Auctions in 2005. In the 80's Simon Gough had the complete 'Lister' copy for sale in his 47th catalogue. The Lister copy came up again at auction in the Cetus Library sale at Bloomsbury Books on Sept. 22nd 2011, proving just how very few there are in circulation. No more than three recorded; with one of them incomplete. One complete copy was available at the online California Book Fair, March 2021. OCLC indicates eight copies only; Bitting p.407; Cagle p970; Oxford p42; Wing R1933.

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Antiquarian category
ref number: 10959

Roux.   Albert & Michel     - With both brother's signatures.
French Country Cooking.
The title page of this book is a two-page spread. A bunch of red radishes obviously in summer, in a French open country market; The Roux Brothers (a single long line) FRENCH COUNTRY COOKING Albert and Michel Roux. Photographs by MARTIN BRIGDALE. With a tipped in 'good-wishes' card from Albert and Michel Roux, signed by each.
FIRST ENGLISH TRANSLATION 1989. 4to. 268 x 215mm. 1fep. Half-title. Title pages. Printer's info. on verso. (1)Contents. p6-9 Introduction. p10-251. p252 Specialities of Provence. p253-256 Index. 1fep. Full of fantastic colour plates of prepared dishes. Dark brown cloth boards with vibrant dust jacket. Condition as new. ALSO ENCLOSED: A three folding page booklet for The House of Albert Roux 'Focus' Menu. A four page card advertising 'Sutherland's Eldon Wild Blue Pork' being sold by Roux. 1xA4 sheet of Traiteur menu items also available.
- In 1967 the brothers opened their first restaurant, Le Gavroche (The Urchin) at Lower Sloane Street in London. The opening party was attended by celebrities such as Charlie Chaplin and Ava Gardner. For the following week, Chaplin was reportedly shuttled across London so he could eat there. In 1972 the brothers opened a second restaurant, the Waterside Inn, in Bray, Berkshire, and launched a catering business. (see image #6 below). called the 'House of Albert Roux' at 229 Ebury St. London SW1. In 1967 Albert and Michel moved and opened Le Gavroche at 43 Upper Brook St, in Mayfair, London. In 1974, the Roux brothers were awarded their first Michelin star for their cooking at Le Gavroche. In 1977, they were awarded a second, and in 1982 they were awarded their third. Le Gavroche was the first British restaurant to be so honoured. Michelin stars for the brothers' other restaurant, the Waterside Inn at Bray, in Berkshire, soon followed. Graduates from the kitchens of Le Gavroche include Marco Pierre White, Gordon Ramsay, Marcus Wareing, Rowley Leigh, Paul Rankin, Bryn Williams, Andrew Fairlie, including, of course, Albert's son, Michel Roux Jr, now in charge at Le Gavroche, and Michel's son, Alain, in charge at the Waterside Inn. According to Rowley Leigh, "The fact that it is run by an incredibly strong family is key." Paul Rankin: "Whenever you go back you are made to feel amazing and special – a part of the family." In his book White Heat (1990), Marco Pierre White acknowledged Albert Roux as a mentor and father figure. Marcus Wareing calls the Roux brothers "the godfathers of British haute cuisine". In 2010, the Waterside Inn became the first restaurant outside France to have held three Michelin stars for a period of 25 years. An incredible achievement. This book essentially presents, not only the gastronomic heart of the Roux brothers but that of France as well. The Roux restaurants have stayed true to those roots and rather than try to pander to constant innovation, they have presented those timeless French regional classics to the highest standard. Largely because of the Roux Family's influence on the many British chefs who were trained in the Roux establishments, we now have an accepted 'Modern British Cuisine', supported with great appreciation by the many key food suppliers and artisanal producers, up and down Great Britain, capable of suppling the highest quality of all kinds of incredible produce. This is especially highlighted by the three items enclosed from Albert Roux's high-class shop first opened in Ebury Street. Pimlico, in the early 90's. An proud legacy. A fantastic cookbook.

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Information

Modern category
ref number: 11311

Roux.   Albert & Michel     - With both brother's signatures.
On Patisserie.
MICHEL & ALBERT ROUX. (A THIN LINE) PHOTOGRAPHS BY ANTHONY BLAKE (A THIN LINE) A large illustration of cooking equipment. Macdonald Illustrated. With a tipped in 'good-wishes' card from Albert and Michel Roux, signed by each.
Second reprint 1991. 254 x 198mm. 1 marbled fep. Half-Title. The brother's signatures on the verso. Title page. Printer's info. on verso. (1)Dedication page to Jean-Louis Berthet. p6-8 Contents. p9 Forward. p10-19 Introduction. p20-242. p243-245 Glossary. p246-247 Templates. p248-255 Templates. [1] 1 marbled fep. Full of fantastic colour plates of prepared dishes. Blue cloth boards with vibrant dust jacket. Condition as new.
- This book about pastry is largely the story of Michel Roux's career and accomplishment as one of the Master Patissiers of France. Even tho' he followed in the footsteps of his older brother Albert, it was Michel that shone as a Patissier. Every three years the French state organises the most prestigious competition for representatives from 217 professions, assembled into 17 groups comprising among others, such disparate trades as mosaics, ironmongery, sculpture, floral art and of course culinary art; all trades where 'hand and mind' combine. This competition is to achieve the title of 'Meilleur Ouvrier'. This entitles the holder by an official decree, to teach at the highest technical level. Michel achieved after a gruelling competition, that tests every participant to their limit, the title of 'un des Meilleurs Ouvriers de France 1976, Patissier-Confiseur'. Thereafter to be considered one of the finest craftsmen in patissierie, in France. This book beyond doubt, reflects that Mastery. It also pays homage to all the friends, colleagues, craftsmen, mentors, and even the lasting influence of his Mother and of course his equally gifted brother, Albert. An incredible book full of full-page photographs, recipes and the history of true master craftsmen.

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Information

Modern category
ref number: 11310

Roux.   Albert & Michel     - With both brother's signatures.
At home with the Roux Brothers.
ALBERT AND MICHEL ROUX. BBC Books.
FIRST EDITION 1988. 230 x 150mm. Half Title. On the verso - a tipped in 'good-wishes' card from Albert and Michel Roux, signed by each. Title page. Printer's info. on verso. p5 Contents. p6 Acknowledgements. p7-13 Introduction. 14-219. 220-223 Index. [1]. Soft cardboard covers. In very good condition. As new.
- The Roux brothers themselves come from a family of humble charcutiers in Charolles, France. The brothers trained as pâtissiers, and came to London to seek their fortunes in the 1950s. Albert worked as a private chef for Nancy Astor; Michel worked for the Rothschilds. In his memoir-cum-recipe book, A Life in the Kitchen (2009), Michel Jr describes an idyllic childhood – a world of everyday feasts and family gatherings, living on a big estate in Shipbourne, Kent. The only arguments Michel Jr can remember were about food. "My father and my uncle would have furious arguments over how to make an omelette ... As far back as I can remember, family and food were the most important things in our lives." In the school holidays, Albert would wake Michel Jr at one or two in the morning to go to Billingsgate fish market, then Smithfield for meat, and Covent Garden for fruit and veg. Albert's wife, Monique, would drive to Paris for ingredients unobtainable in England. Eventually, of course, the pressures took their toll: Albert and Monique divorced in 2001. They both remarried. Albert and Michel opened the present Le Gavroche at 43 Upper Brook St, in Mayfair, London. In 1974, the Roux brothers were awarded their first Michelin star for their cooking at Le Gavroche. In 1977, they were awarded a second, and in 1982 they were awarded their third. Le Gavroche was the first British restaurant to be so honoured. Michelin stars for the brothers' other restaurant, the Waterside Inn at Bray, in Berkshire, soon followed. The Roux family tradition continues. Michel Jr trained as a patissier, and now runs Le Gavroche, having taken over the restaurant from his father in 1993. Michel Sr's son, Alain, now runs the Waterside Inn, which has been awarded three Michelin stars for 25 years consecutively. In an article online from the Radio Times a small synopsis tells us that the Roux Brothers are going to do a series of 13 programmes starting on BBC 2 on the 23rd October 1988. It further states; Albert and Michel Roux , famous chef-restaurateurs, dip into the stock pot; pull apart some bouquets garnis; argue about the way to make watercress soup, and clarify consommes. But whatever the arguments, both brothers agree that the important thing is to enjoy cooking. As Albert says, good food is a pleasure that transcends national boundaries. You don't have to be French to be good at it. This is the book from that cookery show.

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Information

Modern category
ref number: 11312

Roux.   Albert & Michel     Signed by both brothers.
The Roux Brothers New Classic Cuisine.
With a chapter of Wine by MICHAEL BROADBENT by PAUL HOGARTH and photography by ANTHONY BLAKE. MACDONALD & CO LONDON AND SYDNEY. The attractive title page and frontispiece surrounded by a double line border and covering 2pages. Incorporating a nice water-colour of a French and garden.
FIRST ENGLISH EDITION 1983. 269 x 200mm. 1fep with a tipped in 'best wishes' card in red and cream, signed by both brothers. [1] Half-title. The two-page Frontis and title page. Verso with publisher's info and dedications. 2p Contents. p7 Forward. Verso with a b/w photograph of a young Michel. 9-11 Introduction. p14 A sepia watercolour of a Chateau. 15-19 The Culinary Tradition. 1p Verso. a watercolour of a Sommelier. 21-251. 252-256 Appendices, Glossary and Index. 1fep. Maroon cloth hardcover with silver text on the spine. Fine slipcase. Very fine condition, as new.
- This excellent book was the Roux Brothers first published literary effort. It was very well received and went on to cover demand with a total of 4 editions. Next came in 1986, another of Albert's equally fine titles 'The Roux Brothers on Patisserie' that also required another edition later. Next we see in 1988, with a total of 3 editions, "At Home with the Roux Brothers'. Followed one year later in 1989, 'The Roux Brothers. French Country Cooking'. Albert Roux followed quickly in 1991 with 'The Roux Brothers Cooking for Two', printed after a run of 13 cooking programmes on the BBC. This had a total of 2 editions. !992 saw 'French Country Cooking' published with a total of 2 editions. 1996 saw Albert bring out, 'Cher Albert: Answers to everything Gastronomique'. Michel Roux brought out his own Master tome in 1994, titled 'Desserts'. A immense output from two of the most important modern Master Chefs to reside and work in England. Along with Escoffier and Elizabeth David, the Brothers were, in Culinary terms, epoch changers in the United Kingdom.

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Modern category
ref number: 11326

Roux.   Michel     - Signed by the Author.
Desserts.
A Lifelong Passion (a small photograph of a small Bombe) TRANSLATED AND EDITED BY KATE WHITEMAN - PHOTOGRAPHS BY MARTIN BRIGDALE - CONRAN OCTOPUS.
FIRST EDITION. Published October 13th 1994. 275 x 225mm. 1fep. Half-title with inscription To Robert Hendry dated 7.3.95. and Michel's signature, with a tipped in complimentary illustrated sheet for The Waterside Inn. Verso with a full page Frontis of a mousse and fruit cake. Title page. Verso with Acknowledgements and publisher's info. 1p Contents. 1p Dedication to Lucien Peltier. 1p My Secret Obsession. 8-9 Introduction. 10-189. 190 Food Suppliers. 191-192 Index. 1fep. Bottle green full cloth hardcover with gilt text and small printer's device on the spine. The dust wrapper very good. The whole book as new. Illustrated throughout with Martin Brigdale’s stunning photographs and designed in a clear, modern, easy-to-follow style,
- Michel Roux trained in the classic French style and has been inspired by many influences to develop an outstanding repertoire of desserts. Classic recipes are given a modern twist, while original recipes boast new combinations of flavours or a lighter or simpler style of cooking. His book is divided into 10 chapters, each focusing on a particular type of dessert, from simple fruit desserts, hot soufflés and puddings, ice creams and sorbets, through meringues, mousses and parfaits to delectable tarts, pastries and gâteaux. Step-by-step photographic sequences guide you through specific techniques throughout the chapters as Michel presents recipes that are straightforward to prepare and designed to suit today’s fresher, lighter palate. Desserts is set to become a classic from the moment it was published. In 1967, Michel opened his first restaurant, the acclaimed Le Gavroche in London, with his brother Albert. Several other restaurants followed, including The Waterside Inn at Bray, where Michel has held three Michelin stars for an astonishing 25 years. Michel holds countless other culinary honours, including the Meilleur Ouvrier de France en Pâtisserie in 1976, the Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite in 1987, the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 1990 and Doctor of Culinary Arts Honoris Causa, from Johnson & Wales University, in Providence, Rhode Island. In recognition of his achievements, he was awarded the OBE in 2002 and the Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur in 2004.

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Information

Modern category
ref number: 11323

Royal Menu       - From Osborne House.
Her Majesty Queen Victoria's Dinner
Dated Monday August 29th, 1900.
225 x 140mm. Thick cardboard. Handwritten in ink in a neat script. The menu and the border are very bright. The edges are rubbed and slightly spotted and browned. Overall slightly age browned. Housed in a marbled cardboard folder with a label on the front cover. Overall a very nice item of very rare Royal ephemera. Queen Victoria died on January 21st 1901. Her Majesty had this dinner 5 months before.
- Osborne House is a former royal residence in East Cowes, Isle of Wight. The house and its 800 hectare estate was bought from Lady Isabella Blachford in 1845, demolished, and a new house built by 1851 as a summer retreat for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Prince Albert designed the house himself in the style of an Italian Renaissance palazzo. The builder was Thomas Cubitt, the London architect and builder whose company built the main façade of Buckingham Palace for the royal couple in 1847. At Osborne an earlier smaller house on the site was demolished to make way for the new and far larger house. Queen Victoria died at Osborne House in January of 1901. Following her death, the house became surplus to royal requirements and was given to the state with a few rooms retained as a private royal museum dedicated to Queen Victoria. From 1903 until 1921 it was used as a junior officer training college for the Royal Navy known as the Royal Naval College, Osborne. Today it is fully open to the public. The house consisted of the original square wing known as 'The Pavilion', which contained the principal and royal apartments. The apartments contain reminders of Victoria's dynastic links with the other European royal families. The Billiard Room houses a massive porcelain vase, which was a gift of the Russian Tsar. The grandeur of the Billiard Room, the Queen's Dining Room and the Drawing Room on the ground floor forms a marked contrast with the much more homely and unassuming decor of the royal apartments on the first floor. These rooms contain the Prince's Dressing Room, the Queen's Sitting Room, the Queen's Bedroom and the children's nurseries, which were intended for private domestic use, and were therefore arranged to be as comfortable as possible. Both Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were determined to bring up their children in as natural and loving environment as their situation allowed so that as a consequence the royal children visited their parents' bedrooms when other children of a similar status lived in a far more detached manner. The 'main wing', containing the household accommodation, council and audience chambers were added later. The final addition to the house was a wing built between 1890 and 1891. It contains on the ground floor the famous Durbar Room which is named after an anglicised version of the Hindi word darbar. This word means court. The Durbar Room was built for state functions and decorated by Bhai Ram Singh in an elaborate and intricate style, with a carpet from Agra. It now contains the gifts Queen Victoria received on her Golden and Diamond Jubilees. These include engraved silver and copper vases, Indian armour and even a model of an Indian palace. The Indian associations of Osborne House also include a collection of paintings of Indian persons and scenes, painted at Queen Victoria's request by Rudolf Swoboda. There are both depictions of Indians resident or visiting Britain in the 19th Century and scenes painted in India itself when the painter went there for the purpose. The first floor of the new wing was for the sole use of Princess Beatrice and her family. Beatrice was the Queen's youngest daughter, who remained permanently at her side. The royal family stayed at Osborne for lengthy periods each year: in the spring for Victoria's birthday in May; in July and August when they celebrated Albert's birthday; and just before Christmas. In a break from the past, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert allowed photographers and painters to capture their family in the grounds and in the house, partly for their own enjoyment and partly as a form of propaganda for the nation to show what a happy and devoted family they were. Many thousands of prints of the royal family were sold to the public which led Victoria to remark, "no Sovereign was ever more loved than I am, I am bold enough to say." Writing to her daughter Victoria in 1858 about the gloominess of Windsor Castle, Queen Victoria stated, "I long for our cheerful and un-palace-like rooms at Osborne." The domestic idyll at Osborne was not to continue. In December 1861, Prince Albert died at Windsor Castle. During her widowhood, Osborne House continued as one of Queen Victoria's favourite homes. Today, Osborne House is under the care of English Heritage and is open to the public from spring through to autumn. The former Naval College's cricket pavilion was converted into a holiday cottage in 2004 and can be booked by members of the public. Guests staying at the cottage are given the right to use the Osborne Estate's private beach. Photographs 4 and 5 below show Osborne House as it is today. Photograph number 6 is a print of a painting in 1870 by Sir Edwin Landseer, of Queen Victoria and John Brown at Osborne. In it the Queen sits grandly on her horse while perusing state documents. On the ground are discarded documents and the Queen's gloves beside the red dispatch box. John Brown deigns not to pick them up, instead he rigidly guards the Queen's security and safety by not letting go of the horses reins. By the horse we see an amusing vignette of a small black scotch terrier on hind legs with paws together in a frozen pose of absolute devotion. The elaborate and decorous menu on offer here also gives a glimpse of the ultimate privilege of the Queen's household.

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Information

Ephemera category
ref number: 11141