THE DE LA WARR FAMILY RECEIPT BOOK. Manuscript culinary and medical receipt book, undated, [1650s-c.1750], in a number of hands, the receipts entered in at least six distinct phases, the most extensive of which (pp.24-235) is datable from internal evidence to c.1662-1684, a number of receipts attributed to specific sources including Frances, Countess of Exeter, Anne, Duchess of Bedford, Theophilus, 7th Earl of Huntington, Anne, Duchess of Richmond, Hortense Mancini, Duchess of Mazarin (mistress of Charles II), 'Mrs Evelyn' (possibly Mary, wife of the diarist John Evelyn), Dr John Radcliffe, the Countess of Sunderland, the Countess of Northumberland, Lady Russell, Lady De la Warr, Lord Carteret (later 2nd Earl Granville), Georgiana, Countess Cowper, Sir John Pringle MD and others, whilst a 1690s receipt annotated ‘probatum est Mercy Ewbank’ may indicate the identity of an owner or user of the volume, index and approx 383 pages, 4to (early pagination, lacking pp.341-367), early 19th- century black morocco, titled on spine 'Medical receipt book / Bolderwood'. Provenance: Bolderwood Lodge, the former royal hunting lodge in the New Forest: the lodge was occupied between at least the 1730s and 1795 by members of the De la Warr family as Master Keepers of Bolderwood Walk (a title held by the 1st and 4th Earls), and it is likely that the volume was brought to Bolderwood by a member of the family.
The receipts, which intermingle culinary recipes and medical prescriptions, include amongst the former recipes ranging from the more appealing, for gingerbread and ‘Baked Rumpe of Beef’, to the less-palatable, for stewed sparrows and ‘Viper Broath’ (beginning ‘Take one Italian viper…’) and including fantastical dishes such as dressed turtle. Appearing almost as often as easily-recognisable recipes for sugar cakes and other puddings are those for diet drinks. Such age-old complaints recur throughout in the medical receipts, whether ordinary coughs and colds, or the less tangible – as with the cure offered ‘To take away a greife of heart’; the medical receipts include a number relating to childbirth and gynaecological complaints (amongst them ‘A medicine to prevent miscarrying … [which] hath saved many from miscarrying as I my self can sufficiently testifie’) -- a reminder that a volume such as this was compiled and transmitted down the female line.