M/s accounts: great estate in Oxfordshire & London

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[HARCOURT Family]. – NUNEHAM HOUSE, aka NUNEHAM COURTNEY, Oxfordshire, England.

A large format manuscript fair-copy, titled “General Expenditure’ on the upper cover, recording the monthly expenses in both Nuneham and ‘the London house’, dated from May 1848 -  August 1855. Folio (14 3/8 x 9 ½ inches; 365 x 241 mm). 167 pages: in general each month is allotted two facing pages, with one month running on, and a number of gaps. The regular housekeeping bills are recorded first and a sub-total produced, followed by the extra-ordinary bill and then a grand total for the month. (At least one leaf appears to have been removed at the back). Original leather binding with the ticket of retailer ‘W. Massey … Stationer and Bookbinder’ of Grosvenor Square in London (some scuffing, fading and surface damage).

A fascinating insight into the running of a 19th-century ‘great house’ with grounds landscaped by ‘Capability’ Brown and at the centre of an estate which covered over 1000 acres. This account looks to have been kept by an Agent for the Harcourt family – its beautiful presentation suggests that it was regularly shown to the head of the household ? The entries range from the everyday ‘Butcher; Poulterer; Fishmonger; Butterman’, etc., to the much more rarified, one-off ‘Barry – Engraver & painter …  £7/8/=’  .

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