1805 Simpson cook book, uncut in original boards
John SIMPSON. A complete system of cookery, on a plan entirely new, consisting of every thing that is requisite for cooks to know in the kitchen business; containing bills of fare for every day of the year, and directions to dress each dish; being one year's work, at the Marquis of Buckingham's, from the 1st of January, to the 31st of December, 1805. London: printed for W. Stewart 1806. Octavo (8 7/8 x 5 1/2inches; 226 x 140mm). Pp.[i-]viii-xi[xii; 1]-2-754; [i-iv publisher’s ads], including the half-title but without the final blank. (Some old creasing, pp.465/466 with clean tear to lower blank margin). Original boards, uncut (upper cover detached, the lower cover a modern replacement for the original, and also detached, backstrip defective.). Provenance: M.H. Buchan Hepburn (early signature, probably Margaretta Henrietta, Lady Buchan Hepburn [1735-1823]).
Unsophisticated copy of the first edition: very rare in this condition. The title affirms that John Simpson was working as 'cook to the Most Noble the Marquis of Buckingham' [George Nugent-Temple, 1st Marquis, 1753-1813]. The dedication gives some more information about Simpson's career: it is dated 'Gosfield-Hall, Essex', one of the Marquis's properties, and the dedication is to 'Mrs Thomas, Hotel, Berkeley Square': i.e. Phoebe Thomas of Thomas's Hotel, 25 Berkeley Square in London. Simpson probably received his early training at the hotel as he acknowledges his indebtedness to Mrs Thomas' late husband, Tycho Thomas, for 'the principal part of my knowledge in cookery'.
The provenance is interesting: Margaretta Henrietta, Lady Buchan Hepburn, was born Margaretha Henderina Beck in 1735 in Cape Town. She married three times, outliving all her husbands. 1st. married Alexander Grant at the Cape, he died in India; 2nd married Brig. Gen. Simon Fraser at St. Marylebone in Westminster in 1769, he died in 1777 in New York during the battle of Saratoga; 3rd married Sir George Hepburn-Buchan in Scotland in 1781. He died in 1819.