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 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 Victoria's household.

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Ephemera category
ref number: 11141

Royal Menu.      
Luncheon for Her Majesty the Queen and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
CORPORATION OF LONDON LUNCHEON AT GUILDHALL to HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN and HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS THE PRINCE PHILIP, DUKE OF EDINBURGH Upon Their return from Their Tour of Commonwealth and other Countries FRIDAY, 10th MARCH, 1961 The Right Honourable the Lord Mayor SIR BERNARD NATHANIEL WALEY-COHEN. COLONEL RICHARD HOME STUDHOLME, O.B.E., M.A., Alderman. ADAM KENNEDY KIRK Sheriffs. WALTER BASIL HOLDEN Chairman of the Special Reception Committee.
285x210mm. A highly decorated menu in hard cardboard with folded outer cover and 2 folded sheets inside making 4 leaves and eight pages. Top cover. [1] Title page. 1p Guildhall history. 1p Music Programme by the Royal Marine Orchestra. 1p Menu and Wines. 1p Toasts. 2p Names of the Special Reception Committee. 1p Explanation of the cover design. [1] Back cover plain. Inside are 2 folded sheets with Coats of Arms and the precise ceremonial arrangements for the day. All sheets held together with a red and white decorative cord. Housed in a neat marbled cardboard folder with a label on the front cover. A very clean, handsome item of Royal ephemera.
- The Queen and Prince Philip had just visited India, Pakistan, Nepal and Iran. The very colourful water-coloured front cover of the menu depicts impressions of the Commonwealth tour just undertaken. At the top are two drawings of Buckingham Palace and London Airport, depicting points of departure for the tour. In the left panel is the 238 foot Qutab Minar, Delhi, one of the highest stone towers in the world. This is followed at the bottom left, by the Taj Mahal at Agra. On the bottom right we find an impression of Mount Everest in Nepal. In the lower portion of the right panel an image of an Iranian mosque with beautiful Minarets. Lastly above this, two vignettes of Pakistan; Frere Hall, Karachi and the Harbour. On page 2 an essay on the interesting history of the Guildhall. We learn that the Hall and its environs have been consecrated to civic government for more that 1000 years. Two major fires in 1666 and 1941 enveloped the hall. The crypt, porch and mediaeval walls are still original, emerging from the flames without irreparable damage. Each year the Mayor and Sheriffs are elected by the Liverymen after meeting in the Common Hall. In the UK, the Guildhall is one of the most important places of high ceremony. It hosts many important banquets to the Sovereign and Members of the Royal Family, Prime Ministers, Ministers of State and Foreign Leaders. A very interesting document as well as being a menu.

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Ephemera category
ref number: 11142

Royal Menus.      
Four Royal Menus from various Royal Palaces.
1 -- Windsor Castle. 23rd January and 20th June. 1908. 2 -- Buckingham Palace. Friday. November 26th 1982. 3 -- Barmoral Castle. 1st September. 1912.
1 -- Two clean but slightly age browned (one a little more than the other) menu cards, edged in gilt with the crest of Edward VII. One is printed and the other is in very small neat hand writing, both in French. 2 -- Very clean menu card, edged in gilt with the crest of Queen Elizabeth. A simple menu printed in French. 3 -- Clean but slightly age browned menu card, edged in gilt with the crest of George V. A simple menu written by hand in light blue ink, and in French. All housed in a cardboard, marbled folder with a label on the front cover.
- Looking at these menus, one is immediately struck by; A - The are all written in French including the dates. B - They are all in the same format and size. Considering they span nearly 80 years, it is amazing. This gives a singular impression that things do not change in the Royal Households. Still keeping a tradition of writing their daily menus in French and not English, especially since modern British cookery has developed its own repertoire to such a high level and British chefs now compare with the best France has to offer. Quite rare and interesting items of Royal ephemera spanning two Royal Castles, a Palace and three Monarchs.

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Ephemera category
ref number: 10994

Savoy Hotel. London.       - Printed a month before Escoffier joined Ritz.
A framed advert - circa 1890.
Victoria Embankment. LONDON. PERFECTION OF LUXURY AND COMFORT. Artistic Furniture. Shaded Electric Lights everywhere at all hours of night and day. NO GAS. The Finest River and Garden View in London, giving a Panorama of the Thames from Battersea to London Bridge. All the Corridors thoroughly Warmed in the Cold Weather by Hot Water. Suites of rooms on every Floor, with Private Bath Rooms, &c. Sixty-seven Bath Rooms. No charge for Baths. Large and Luxurious “Ascending Rooms” running all night. Top Floor Rooms equal in every respect to the Lowest. Large Central Courtyard with Plants, Flowers, &c. (A black and white finely detailed etching of the Savoy as seen from the Thames.) THE RESTAURANT Open to the Public. Luncheons and Dinners served on the Terrace overlooking the beautiful Embankment Gardens and River. This Terrace is enclosed by glass, and warmed during the winter. In the hot weather, dinners, &c, , are served in the open air. THE ONLY OPEN AIR RESTAURANT IN LONDON. The Restaurant has been organized under the superintendanceof M. RITZ, the well-known Hotel Manager from Monte Carlo, Cannes, and Baden-Baden, and of the popular Maitre d’Hotel “Francois” (M. RINJOUX), of the Grand Hotel at Monte Carlo. Manager of the Restaurant – M. ECHENARD. Chef, -- M. CHARPENTIER. The cuisine rivals the most famous Cpntinental Cafes. For tariff and rooms apply to the Manager of the Hotel, Mr. HERDWICKE.
247 x 177mm. A one page light brown advertisement for the Savoy Hotel, London. Circa 1890. A small part of the top right hand corner missing. A small chip missing on the side. Not affecting the text. Nicely mounted and framed in a fine gold frame with a 2” cream coloured cloth mount. The whole measuring 415 x 325mm. Overall very nice condition. A very rare item of ephemera.
- The facts behind this Savoy Hotel advertisement are very interesting and can be dated quite accurately. The names and the places are all extensively recorded in the numerous biographies of Escoffier and Ritz. It starts with a very persuasive and intelligent entrepreneur named Richard D’Oyly Carte who had built and opened the Savoy Theatre between the Strand and Thames embankment, London. It was the most modern theatre in London with the newly invented electric lighting. The theatre was very popular and D’Oyly Carte wisely realised that the theatre-goers needed a nearby place to dine after the performances. The land behind the theatre was known as the old ‘Savoie Mannor’. A sloping field overgrown with weeds and littered with bottles that looked out upon the coal wharves, barges and general flotsam of the Thames Embankment. D’Oyly Carte purchased the land, drew up plans for a hotel and started construction on 1884. The Savoy Hotel was opened on the 6th August, 1889. It was extremely popular in the beginning but D’Oyly Catre noticed that the clientele numbers had started to drop after three months. It was obvious that the food was not up to scratch nor the management capable of dramatically improving the needed standards. Lilly Langtry was a good friend of D’Oyly Carte. She urged him to approach Cesar Ritz the famous hotelier, to take advantage of Ritz’s fame after he had established and managed some of the most luxurious hotels in the world such as the Ritz Hotels in London and Paris, also the Grand Hotel in Rome, the L’Hotel Salasamaggiore in the province of Parma etc etc. Ritz also had a longstanding partnership with Auguste Escoffier who managed the kitchens of those famous hotels. Both of them were dedicated to the highest standards, and they were as famous as the establishments they served. Ritz was initially opposed to going to England as he and Escoffier were already very committed and busy. D’Oyly Carte paid him handsomely just to visit and in 1889 Cesar stayed in and inspected the Savoy. On returning home he told his wife the food was terrible and weather was worse. Equally, he was very excited about the wealth of the clientele and the beauty of hotel. In January 1890 Cesar signed a contract to manage the Savoy Hotel. His first task was to convince Escoffier to come and manage the Kitchens and Restaurants. The manager of the restaurant, M. Echenard, (at the bottom of the advert) was a Master of Wine and became Cesar’s assistant. Another name at the bottom is the Manager of the Hotel – Mr. Hardwicke. He proved unable to keep the initial business nor manage the Hotel as it needed to be. Another name is the Chef. M. Charpentier. Before coming to the Savoy he had worked for Rothschild but did not have the notion to run a large restaurant with a’ la carte menus. The Prince of Wales complained that the cooking was as dull as Windsor Castle’s. Escoffier finally accepted the position of Maitre Chef de Cuisine and started in the Kitchen on April 1890. It was not without drama. There was very bad feeling about the dismissals and when Escoffier walked into the kitchen on his first day he found everything destroyed. To save the day he asked his friend Louis Peyre who managed the Kitchens of the Charing Cross Hotel to help. Peyre supplied everything that day and gave Escoffier time to organise the kitchen for the next day. As the advertisement also has Ritz’s name on it as the manager of the Restaurant, it must have been printed between January 1890 (probably on Cesar’s initiative) and April 1890, sometime just before Escoffier started.

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Ephemera category
ref number: 11189

Soyer.   Elizabeth Emma [nee Jones]     - Drawn by the artist when she was fifteen
An Original Drawing.
Exquisite black crayon period portrait of an old man seated. Wearing a peaked cap, high necked waistcoat, small knotted neckerchief and a jacket with wide lapels. Identity of the sitter unknown. Signed by Emma Jones and dated 1828.
Actual Drawings - 7.5"x 9" = 190 x 228mm. Frame - 11.5 "x13" = 292 x 330mm. Sympathetically mounted on a dark green/grey cardboard backing with glass fronted, gold brushed frame. The edges of the paper slightly cracked but altogether nicely aged. Overall a very rare and handsome item.
- Elizabeth Emma Jones was born in London - 1813. In 1836 she married Alexis Benoist Soyer the famous Chef de Cuisine of the Reform Club, Pall Mall, London. She died on the 29th of August, 1842, aged twenty-nine. She showed talent from a very young age and first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1823, at barely ten years old. This highly accomplished artist focused on portraiture and studies of nature. Her works were popularised through engravings and she went on to exhibit at the Paris Salon from 1840-42. Her reputation in France stood higher than even her native country. She was regarded as unusual and precociously gifted. Her works were admired because they were said to have been marked by great vigour and breadth of light and shadow. This can be seen in the portrait on offer here. Astonishingly, it was completed when she was just fifteen years old and shows a great degree of artistic maturity. The famous portrait of her husband Alexis Soyer wearing his beret, (see below) is a stipple engraving by Henry Bryan Hall originally from a drawing by Emma. It is owned by the National Portrait Gallery. The first picture below is a self-portrait drawn by Emma.

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Ephemera category
ref number: 11092

Soyer.   Elizabeth Emma [nee Jones]     - Drawn by the artist when she was fifteen
An Original Drawing.
Exquisite black crayon period portrait of older man seated. Wearing a jacket with wide lapels, a waistcoat and a white neck-scarf. Identity of the sitter unknown. Signed by Emma Jones and dated 1828.
Actual Drawings - 7.5"x 9" = 190 x 228mm. Frame - 11.5 "x13" = 292 x 330mm. Sympathetically mounted on a dark green/grey cardboard backing with glass fronted, gold brushed frame. The edges of the paper slightly cracked but altogether nicely aged. Overall a very rare and handsome item.
- Elizabeth Emma Jones was born in London - 1813. In 1836 she married Alexis Benoist Soyer the famous Chef de Cuisine of the Reform Club, Pall Mall, London. She died on the 29th of August, 1842, aged twenty-nine. Miss Emma Jones acquired the rudiments of her vocation under the guidance of Mons. Simonau, a Flemish artist, who subsequently became her step-father. She showed talent from a very young age and first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1823, at barely ten years old. This highly accomplished artist focused on portraiture and studies of nature. Her works were popularised through engravings and she went on to exhibit at the Paris Salon from 1840-42. Her reputation in France stood higher than even her native country. She was regarded as unusual and precociously gifted. Her works were admired because they were said to have been marked by great vigour and breadth of light and shadow. This can be seen in the portrait on offer here. Astonishingly, it was completed when she was just fifteen years old and shows a great degree of artistic maturity. The famous portrait of her husband Alexis Soyer wearing his beret, (see below) is a stipple engraving by Henry Bryan Hall originally from a drawing by Emma. It is owned by the National Portrait Gallery. Notwithstanding Madame Soyer's death at such a young age she was a prolific artist who left behind upwards of 400 paintings, which received commendations of the highest character. Soyer's already bright reputation was considerably enhanced by his marriage to Emma. While he was in a meeting in Belguim with the king, Emma became very frightened during a severe thunderstorm and she had a miscarriage and died. Soyer was distraught and never forgave himself for his absence, not even when, in 1850, receiving a letter from Alexis Lemain claiming to be his son - the result of an early liaison in Paris - he accepted paternity. Emma and Soyer are both buried together at Kensal Green cemetery. As of August 2008, Emma and Soyer's impressive but weather-beaten monument has been granted public money for a complete renovation, to be started by the October of that same year. The plot holds four bodies. Besides Alexis and Emma there is Francois Simonau (1859) the artist, mentor and stepfather to Emma mentioned above. Then finally a Lady Watts (1929) who was Francois Simonau's grand niece. Emma (Soyer) Jones's paintings and drawings are very rare and seldom appear at auction or on the market.

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Ephemera category
ref number: 11091

Soyer.   Alexis Benoit     - A rare item of ephemera
An invitation card to the Dublin Soup Kitchen, signed by Soyer.
The cardboard invitation measures approx. 2"x3" It states: Soyer's Model Kitchen. For the Poor. Royal Barracks Esplanade. Admit (in manuscript [??] Jones) & Family. to the opening on Monday 5th April 1847. at half past 2 oClock. Within a simple decorated line border. Soyer's signature in blue ink at the bottom right hand corner.
Also enclosed are a two interesting articles copied from Irish newspapers, reporting on Soyers soup kitchens. Housed in a neat cardboard, marbled folder with a label on the front cover. An extremely rare item of Soyer ephemera.
- George Augustus Sala, on meeting Soyer in the Hungerford Market recalls, -- He wore a kind of paletôt of light camlet cloth, with voluminous lapels and deep cuffs of lavender watered silk; very baggy trousers, with lavender stripes down the seams; very shiny boots and quite as glossy a hat; his attire being completed by tightly-fitting gloves, of the hue known in Paris as 'beurre frais' — that is to say, light yellow. All this you may think was odd enough; but an extraordinary oddity was added to his appearance by the circumstance that every article of his attire, save, I suppose, his gloves and boots, was cut on what dressmakers call a "bias," or as he himself, when I came to know him well, used to designate as "à la zoug-zoug". He must have been the terror of his tailor, his hatter, and his maker of cravats and under-linen; since he had, to all appearance, an unconquerable aversion from any garment which, when displayed on the human figure, exhibited either horizontal or perpendicular lines. His very visiting-cards, his cigar-case, and the handle of his cane took slightly oblique inclinations. This explains precisely why this invitation card on offer here is such an odd shape; it is "à la zoug-zoug". After the Soup Kitchen Act was introduced on January 25th 1847, Soyer was invited by the Government and funded by private subscriptions, to go to Ireland during the winter of 1847 while the Great Famine was raging. The Soup Kitchen was set up on the banks of the Liffey in front of the Royal Barracks, Dublin. The wooden dining room was forty foot long by thirty feet wide. Soyer's soup was cooked and served from a 300 gallon boiler that looked like a traditional steam engine. It also had an oven at the end to bake one hundred-weight of bread at a time. The soup bowls were stuck to the table and the spoons were chained to the bowls. One hundred ate their soup with relish (according to the newspapers) then left when a bell rang, followed by another hundred who came in for their soup and piece of bread. The food was also conveyed by vehicles to distant outlying areas, for infants, the sick and the aged. Newspapers report that on the day of opening the Kitchens to the poor, the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and other notables were invited to view the Kitchens and Dining room. This invitation card is for one of those guests on that occasion. This Gala opening also caused some outrage in some newspapers, due to the undignified way the poor had to eat the soup in front of the privileged Guests. Never the less Soyer's kitchen was successful and his services were retained by the Relief Commissioners. In the midst of much publicity, Soyer opened a number of 'model' Kitchens in Dublin. Under the Act, soup kitchens were to be established in each of the electoral divisions. By July 1847, 1,850 Soup kitchens were in operation feeding over 3 million people throughout Ireland. Soyer, long gone by this time, received a beautiful snuff box amid great fanfare before his departure.

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Ephemera category
ref number: 10991

Soyer.   Alexis Benoit    
A Handwritten Letter signed by Soyer.
Headed Reform Club. Wed 4th. 1949. With a small cut-out of Soyer's portrait tipped in. The letter states -- Dr Sir In accordance with your wishes I beg to enclose the [??] taken from my Gastronomic Regenerator. Yours Sincerely A. Soyer.
The letter is one sheet of paper folded in half. The hand-wrting is on the outside fold and on the inside is a tipped-in clip from a newspaper describing an illustrious dinner provided by Soyer for five or six hundred guests at the Chancellor-House, Hammersmith. (It provides a very flattering account of some grand dishes served. Knowing Soyer's famous penchant for self-promotion, there is a good possibility the newspaper article was attached by Soyer himself.) The letter is housed in a neat marbled, cardboard folder with a handwritten label on the front cover. A very rare item
- Alexis Soyer 1810 - 1858. The great chef of the Reform Club, Pall Mall, London. Author of eight major books on Cookery and Gastronomy, an inventor, especially of the magic and field stoves, a manufacturer of his range of sauces and relishes, an unceasing self-publicist. He led an extremely productive professional life and was famous for his newly designed Kitchens at the Reform Club, also noted for his work in the Crimea in the hospitals at Scutari and his soup kitchens in Ireland during the great famine. Refusing the urgings of his friends to rest, it was small wonder when he died burnt out at the age of 48. Despite what should have been a lucrative arrangement with Messrs Crosse and Blackwell, he left only £1500 at his death. A rum distiller called David Hart succeeded in taking all the cash and Soyer's personal papers in lieu of an unpaid debt. He destroyed all the papers and notes. Because of that short-sighted and selfish action, any signed or manuscript notes in Soyer's hand are exremely rare.

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Ephemera category
ref number: 10990

Soyer.   Alexis Benoit     - Selling his wife's paintings.
A letter handwritten & signed by Soyer.
to an unidentified correspondent, detailing two items in a catalogue of paintings [not present].
2 pages. 8vo. Full cream coloured sheet 228 x 182 mm. Folded 115 x 182 mm. A full sheet folded in half with a slight split at the bottom of the fold. It is in a very clear and legible condition. Dated Nov. 23rd 1857. Soyer writes “Dear Sir I beg to send herewith a calogue of my paintings you will find the Two sent you marked Nos…. & … In centre, or rather between the two you might insert “Youth & Age” & describe them in the usual place viz. At the bottom as per catalogue – I remain Dear Sir Yours faithfully A Soyer.“ Housed in a very fine handmade slip case with a label on the front cover.
- The Wikipedia entry for Emma [Jones] Soyer is worth repeating here, to help put the letter in a context. To quote -- The daughter of a Mr. Jones who died in 1818, she was born in London in 1813, and was carefully instructed in French, Italian, and music. At a very early age she became a pupil of F. Simoneau the painter, who in 1820 married her mother, Mrs. Jones. Finding that Emma had talents for drawing, Simoneau ultimately devoted the whole of his time to her instruction, and before the age of twelve she had drawn more than a hundred portraits from life with surprising fidelity. On 12 April 1837 she married Alexis Soyer the cook. She now turned her attention to portraits in oil, and, with her master, traveled in the provinces and gained great popularity. Upon her return to London she produced 'The Blind Boy,' 'The Crossing Sweeper,' 'The Bavarians,' 'Taglioni and the Kentish Ceres.' In 1842 she completed her last work, 'The Two Organ Boys.' She also showed two paintings at the 1842 Paris Salon ('L'aveugle de la tour de Londres' and 'Portrait de M. Soyer' - Nos. 1729-30). Her portrait famous of Soyer was also engraved by Henry Bryan Hall. On 29–30 Aug. 1842 she had complications with her pregnancy, owing to fright produced by a terrible thunderstorm, and she died the same night at her residence near Charing Cross, London. She was buried at Kensal Green Cemetery, London on 8 September, where her husband erected a sumptuous monument to her memory. Between 1823 and 1843 fourteen of her pictures were exhibited at the Royal Academy, thirty-eight at the British Institution, and fourteen at the Suffolk Street Gallery (Graves, Dictionary of Artists, pp. 130, 221). In June 1848 one hundred and forty of her works were exhibited at the Prince of Wales's bazaar, under the name of Soyer's Philanthropic Gallery, on behalf of the Spitalfields soup kitchen, and a catalogue was printed. Among these pictures was 'The Young Savoyards Resting,' a work that obtained for Madame Soyer the name of the 'English Murillo.' Two of her paintings - 'The Jew Lemon Boys' and 'The English Ceres,' were engraved by Gérard. In Paris, where many of her pictures were exhibited, her reputation stood higher than in her native country - unquote. The paintings to which Alexis Benoist Soyer (4 February 1810 – 5 August 1858) refers to, are most likely those created by his late wife. This letter is written less than 9 months before his death and fifteen years after Emma’s. He must have inherited all of her artistic output and possibly had a catalogue printed to sell them. Indications are that Soyer was not careful with money. This makes sense as Soyer he left only £1500 at his death. A rum distiller called David Hart succeeded in taking all the cash and Soyer's personal papers in lieu of an unpaid debt. He destroyed all the papers and notes. Because of that short-sighted and selfish action, any signed or manuscript notes in Soyer's hand are extremely rare. Only rare letters like this one here, owned by a third party are likely to come onto market.

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Ephemera category
ref number: 11234

Soyer.   Alexis Benoit     Extremely rare letter; signed twice.
Written by Soyer, whilst in the Crimea.
"Scutari Barrack Hospital, Constantinople. 26th April 1855. My Dear Sir I am happy to inform you that since the last time I had the pleasure of shaking hands with you, I have employed my time with the greatest success and no doubt inform the receipt you will have heard thro the public press of the rapid progress I have I have made – I have now left for a few days the great Barrack Hospital of Scutari for Kullalee, where my services are also required - I shall shortly proceed to Balaclava. I have not yet presented my accounts which I need hardly say far exceeds the amount advanced me by the Government, having brought with me two cooks from Paris, besides my Secretary, but will do so very shortly – A Soyer - I apprehend W. Hilton, the Purveyor in Chief is the gentleman to whom I shall have to apply – With the highest consideration I have the honour to be yours very ably. A Soyer. ___ Croome Esquire."
1½ pages of Soyer's light script written while in the Crimea. Signed at the bottom of the first page, including the extra half page postscript with the second signature. Measuring 13 x 7½ inches with folds‚ in good clean condition‚ with an integral blank leaf. The letter housed in a slip inside a handsome folder with red marbled paper and label.
- The Crimean War was a military conflict fought between October 1853 and March 1856, in which Russia lost to an alliance of France, the British Empire, the Ottoman Empire and Sardinia. Alexis Soyer (1810 – 1858)‚ the French chef who became the most celebrated cook in Victorian England, enhanced his reputation by his involvement in the welfare of the wounded soldiers in the war. His reputation was already assured as he had also worked to alleviate the suffering of the Irish poor in the Great Irish Famine (1845–1849)‚ and towards their relief, he contributed a penny for every copy sold of his pamphlet 'The Poor Man's Regenerator' (pub; 1847). During the Crimean War‚ Soyer went to the Crimea at his own expense to advise the army on cooking more nutritious and healthy food. Later he was paid his expenses and wages equivalent to those of a Brigadier-General. In the North Wales Chronicle of Saturday May 5th 1855, in a quite full account written by Soyer himself and sent to the paper, we learn that he opened his large kitchen on the site of a previous Turkish kitchen, on Easter Monday, at the huge Barrack Hospital in Scutari. Present was a number of Ladies and Gentlemen who tasted the new diet, compared to dishes alongside of the old diet. It was a huge success. In the article, Soyer expresses a fulsome gratitude to Florence Nightingale for her good organisational skills and help in providing him with all the materials he needed to start the Kitchen. Soyer's work was very successful; it started to save countless lives that otherwise, before his efforts, would have been lost. The mortality rate alone at Scutari's Barrack Hospital was 100 soldiers and upwards daily. An unimaginable toll. Florence Nightingale's well documented, heroic nursing standards were not enough. She very much appreciated Soyer and his efforts. The fine synergy between their differing aspects of care was crucial. In the Memoirs of Soyer's two secretaries, F.Volant & J.R.Warren, they inform that the death rate was putting such a strain on the hospital staff, that the bodies were just rolled up in their bed blankets and buried in mass pits. Soyer also provided the new diet at Balaclava, and at three institutions at Kullalee, and was very well supported there by Lady Stafford, having been previously interviewed about his needs by her husband, Lord Stafford. At that time also, Soyer was waiting for his soon-to-be-famous new model camp-stove which was capable of cooking continously for 200 soldiers every three hours. One can only imagine the magnitude of effort there. Soyer himself did not escape unscathed. Soyer's two secretaries also write that Soyer himself, due to overwork, fever and severe dysentery over a long period of time nearly died. Interestingly, he was saved by the intelligent ministrations of a very young 21 year old doctor, Mr Ambler. Despite, at first, large misgivings about the young Dr Ambler, he quickly revived Soyer with a diet of iced drinks, a little solid food and a daily quantity of eggs beaten up with port wine. For the rest of his time in the Crimea, the young doctor became a very good friend and companion to an extremely grateful Soyer. Finally, at the end of the Welsh newspaper article is a wonderful praising statement by Brigadier General, Commanding Troops - W. Pauley, where he fully approves of the way Soyer has taken the usual provisions, re-arranged the proportions and made such a difference with the simple act of cooking. As all Soyer’s personal papers were burned just after his death, then this extremely rare and pertinent letter, could only have come from the aforementioned Mr Cromme’s extant estate.

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Ephemera category
ref number: 11244