Digby.   Sir Kenelme     - A beautiful binding by Riviere
The CLOSET Of the Eminently Learned Sir Kenelme Digby Kt. Opened:
Whereby is DISCOVERED Several ways for making of Metheglin, Sider, Cherry-Wine, &c. TOGETHER WITH Excellent Directions FOR COOKERY As also for Preserving, Conserving, Candying, &c. Published by his Son's Consent. London, Prinetd by E.C. & A.C. For H. Browne, at the West-End of St. Pauls, 1671.
FIRST EDITION - 2ND ISSUE. Marbled endpapers with lovely elaborate gilt tooling. 2 fep. [1] Portrait frontispiece of Digby aged 62. Title page. [1] 2p 'To the Reader'. 1-251. 8p 'The Table'. [1]. 3fep. Marbled endpapers with lovely elaborate gilt tooling. Very handsome honey coloured polished calf by Bayntun (Riviere). French fillet frame on covers, raised bands, spine elaborately gilt in compartments with elegant central floral bouquet stamp, two crimson labels, intricately gilt turn-ins, marbled end papers, all edges gilt. From the Spokane Public Library, with the perforated and ink stamp on the 'To the Reader' leaf and with same accession number printed by hand on another page. The Frontis and title page have had expert repairs to page edges with no loss. Very slight hint of soiling here and there, but overall a very pleasing copy of a book not often found in agreeable condition. The binding completely tight and very handsome. A very scarce item, especially in this condition.
- The Frontispiece and Title page are slightly darker than the rest due to the book being on display at the Spokane Public Library for protracted periods of time. It also appears that the very good repairs carried out to those same page edges, (without loss) was due to paper brittleness accrued while on display. The first edition was printed in 1669. NUC locates an aggregate of nine copies of the two editions in seven libraries. Digby (1603-65) was a writer, navel commander, diplomat, scientist, philosopher, privateer, religious conversationalist, and more. In his book he devotes 89 pages to metheglin, which he also calls meath, a honey based brew to which various spices are added. From meath, Digby moves on to other liquids, including his own complicated 'aqua mirablis' recipe, the ingredients of which include cloves, spearmint, marigold and sack. Gradually the entries progress to more solid food, porridges and broths and end with meats and sweets. A few recipes include apples but there is singularly little talk of vegetables. The description of "how to fatten young chickens in a wonderful degree" gives one an insight into the Brobdingnagian zest of an aristocracy that had no misgivings about its place at the top of the food chain. Lit up by candles to ensure round-the-clock feeding, chicks were fed a pap of pulped raisins, bread and milk , to make them so fat that; "they will not be able to stand, but lie down upon their bellies to eat". Sir Kenelme Digby, who became as plump and rotund as one of his chickens, died on 1665. His first edition - first issue of 1669, was printed posthumously by his steward, George Hartman who used the recipes from Digby's papers. Hartman in turn, printed a book of Cookery in 1682 called 'The True Preserver'

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Antiquarian category
ref number: 10932