How to Dress on £15 a year, as a Lady. By a Lady;
[bound together with:] How to Economize like a Lady.London: Frederick Warne and Co. [& George Routledge & Sons,] 1873 & 1874 Stock Code: 115579
First editions, both uncommon, the second particularly so with just seven copies traced institutionally (two at the BL, NLS, TCD, Cambridge, Oxford, and Duke). Little is known of the author beyond her publication of practical household manuals, however her style exhibits all the confidence and bearing of a real life Lady Bracknell. Besides the present works she also wrote Tables and Chairs a Practical Guide to Economical Furnishing (1877).
How to Dress on 15 a year was "issued in the hope that it will benefit a very large portion of the women of the United Kingdom, by showing how Dress may be managed with Style and yet Economy How can a lady dress on fifteen pounds a year? Well, this question has vexed me much, as no doubt it has vexed many others to whom, maybe, it is of the greatest moment. Of course any one can dress on this sum, this is not questioned; but the gist of the matter lies in the three words 'like a lady'" (Introduction). The answer to this thorny question is addressed under the headings "Imaginary Wardrobes", "On Buying and Choosing", "Dress and Mantua Making", "Dress for Elder Ladies", and "Dress for Travelling". In the 1880 Quaritch catalogue Aggravating Ladies it was noted that "this little work was the subject of a Chancery suit, Warne the original publisher against Routledge, the publisher of a second edition before Warne's was exhausted. Mrs. Cook's royalty was one penny per copy sold, and Warne very shortly paid her 100".
The second title, a concise household manual, follows the same pattern, offering practical hints for those trying to manage on 500 a year: "I wish I could persuade women to throw in a dash of political economy with their other reading it will act like salt on their minds and keep them fresh and bright" (p. 6); "Your cook, if she be a pleasant person, will quite understand that you have many more opportunities of seeing and tasting dishes than she has, and instead of looking at it as an interference, will be glad of your teaching and advice" (p. 90); "A child from birth we all know is, and must be, an expense - an expense however gladly incurred; but it does not necessitate or excuse extravagance" (p. 126).
2 works bound in 1 volume, octavo (155 x 98 mm). Contemporary half calf, marbled boards, green morocco spine label, flat ochre endpapers, edges marbled.
Publisher's device to the title pages, occasional head- and tailpieces and decorative capitals to the first-named.
Both works with the contemporary ownership inscription of Olivia E. Steward (née Johnson), who married Colonel Richard Steward of Nottington House, Dorset. Front board skilfully reattached, some foxing and browning, a little more so to the second item; else very good.
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