Friday, March 11, 2016

Channelling Downton Abbey

The Ideal Home - Tea-Table settingThe doors of Downton Abbey are now closed forever. And if you, dear readers, are of a like mind to the present writer, you may be feeling a bit wistful and nostalgic for that lost world. But help is at hand and Rauner Special Collections Library has the perfect tome to help you channel the world of Downton in your very own home. The Ideal Home: How to Find It, How to Furnish It, How to Keep It, was published in London in 1914, so it is exactly contemporary to the beginnings of the Downton Abbey series (1912). It was written by one Matilda Lees-Dods, whose credentials are specified on the title page (Diplomee of the National Training School of Cookery, South Kensington, Certificated Teacher in Laundry Work, Dressmaking, Dairy Work, Poultry Rearing, and First Aid). At 976 pages (and eight pounds in weight) it is a very substantial volume indeed.

Thirty-eight chapters cover every possible aspect of the domestic arts. Some of our favourites are “How to Deal with Servants,” “A Chapter of Don’ts,” “Mysteries of Soup Making,” “New Fashions in Dinner Parties,” and the ever- so important “Carving and Serviette Folding.” One certainly would not want the serviettes folded in a less than perfect manner. Carson would not approve.

First aid, living within a budget, prices, food preparation, legalities, are all covered by Miss Lees-Dods.

The Ideal Home - Savoury of Shrimps With Tangerines

This manual is lavishly illustrated with lovely water colours, and practical black and white images.

One cannot help but wonder if Mrs. Hughes had her very own copy in the housekeeper’s office at Downton. One suspects she did.

The book came to Dartmouth thanks to the generosity of Edward P. Sine, Class of 1951, who amassed a large collection of illustrated books in different genres and on many different topics during his long years of collecting.

Ask for Sine Illus T28ide. And recreate a bit of Downton in your very own home.

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