NUTT.   Frederick     - A superlatively rare find
Nutt's own signed manuscript recipe book -- circa 1789.
The manuscript is in 5 approximately even sections with one fifth of the total pages blank: 1st section -- 214 numbered receipts with an index. 2nd section -- 59 numbered receipts with an index. 3rd section -- 9 pages of English spelling & shorthand studies. 4th section -- 69 pages of unnumbered receipts; mainly sweets, wines, cordials and pickles. No index. Frederick Nutt’s signature is on the very first page and in the 2nd section, above recipe # 42, for Currant Jelly. There is a date in the 4th section of June 10th 1826. The first section is almost the same as the 1st printed edition of Nutt’s 'Complete Confectioner' of 1789; It is almost identical in recipe sequence, recipe content and index. Out of 237 recipes in the 1st edition, there are only 44 recipes out of sequence in the manuscript. Most of the 44 recipes can be found in the 2nd section of the manuscript. The 2 biggest anomalies in the 1st section index are - # 1 -- the block of 6 ‘Cordials’ starting with recipe # 182. They are not present in the index of ‘The Complete Confectioner’. Anomaly # 2 – in ‘The Complete Confectioner’ there are 7 recipes in the chapter ‘Fruits Preserved in Brandy’ (recipe # 180) -- that are not in the 1st section of the manuscript, but scattered in the 2nd section. This is without doubt, Frederick Nutt’s own manuscript recipe book -- circa 1789, which he used to publish the 1st edition of his 'Complete Confectioner'.
16mo The manuscript measures 159 x 65 mm. The book is dis-bound with back board present. The text block is tight. There are a couple of pages loose. All pages are age browned. The text is small, neat, legible and in Nutt's handwriting throughout. Preserved in a brown cloth covered hand tied, folding sleeve. All held in a fine modern full tan calf clamshell box. Raised bands on spine with gilt lines and blind tooling in the compartments. 2 labels - one red, one green with gilt lettering. The boards edged with gilt lines.
- Although Frederick Nutt did not add his name to his famous book, 'The Complete Confectioner', it is understood that it was out of respect for another famous confectioner, Domenico Negri, at the 'Pot and Pineapple' shop in Berkley Square, where Nutt had been formally apprenticed. This probably means that many of the recipes contained in this manuscript and 'The Complete Confectioner' are from the 'Pot and Pineapple' as well as his later places of employment. All conscientious apprentices would keep a journal of all recipes seen and done, as they went about learning their trade. As can be seen in this detailed manuscript, in this respect Nutt was no exception, giving one a sense of a very diligent craftsman. One aspect of the manuscript that it is quite startling is how little editing happened between the manuscript (see the detailed description of this item above) and the published first edition of 'The Complete Confectioner'. Compared to today's multi-faceted approach and effort needed to get a successful cookery book onto the market, the manuscript and the subsequent book, surprise and amaze by their simplicity.

click on image to enlarge

Antiquarian category
ref number: 10908