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Bid to £2700 on September 6 was a receipt book, or recipe book, compiled by a Dorothy Shirley and dated 1693-94, that included instructions for the preparation of such delights as gooseberry wine, Dutch cabbage cream, “ffresh cheese of the stroakings of a cowe”, and a method of drying tongues.

The usual medicinal recipes included a “red cordiall powder good for all pestilentius diseases as surfeits agues and ye like”.

A second recipe book of 1792, one kept by the Hon Mrs Sarah-Maria Molesworth, sold at £1250.

This one drew heavily on the recommendations of the lady’s friends, acquaintances and so on. It includes Mrs Toyning’s recipe for the piles, the Lady Clinton’s “recpt for cureing mad people” and the Duke of Argyle’s treatment for a sore throat.

It also offers instructions on how to “…make the excellent breast watter for a Cancer, Lady Berkshires, 1685, which cured Her Grace the Dutches of Argyle after her breast wase ordered to be cutt of by her physicians”.

Meet the challenge

The most expensive lot, at £7500, was also the largest – a complete set of the official accounts of the …Scientific Results of the Voyage of HMS Challenger during the years 1873-76.

The 40 volumes of 1880-95, bound as 50 in the publisher’s original green cloth gilt, were in some cases broken, rubbed and, in a few instances, dampstained to the boards. All bore the bookplates of the Cardiff Free Library, to whom the set had been donated.

This great work brought together the work of the physicists, chemists, biologists, navigators and other specialists who travelled 69,000 nautical miles across the Atlantic, Pacific and Antarctic.

They charted, measured and recorded the extent and depths of the oceans, as well as collecting more than 4000 new species of ocean life.

“The most recent auction enhanced the saleroom’s reputation for culinary success

The official account, which took many years to complete, contains over 3280 plates, charts and maps that are mostly lithographed and in many cases tinted or hand coloured.

Sold for £1700 among the natural history books in the Gloucestershire sale was a 1678 first in rebacked but period mottled calf of The Ornithology of Francis Willughby…

The three illustrated discourses it contains deal with the art of fowling, song birds and falconry.

Brontë contribution

Brontë lots, both books and letters, have featured in recent reports and this sale made a further contribution in the form of an envelope addressed in Charlotte’s hand in 1855 to her friend and first biographer, Mrs Elizabeth Gaskell. It sold at £3200.

Almost 4ft wide x 11ft long (1.2 x 3.3m), an illuminated pedigree roll of the Capel family of Cassiobury House, near Watford, sold at £4200.

Covering the period 1485-1775 but apparently begun c.1640, it shows, arranged in 13 rows, a total of 124 painted coats of arms and almost 200 crowned or capped roundels giving details of births, deaths and marriages in the family.

Featured among a selection of bindings illustrated and described in ATG No 2306 was a 1644 first of John Knox’s Historie of the Reformation of the Church of Scotland, armorially bound for John Evelyn. In the 1977-78 Christie’s sales of the Evelyn library it made £230, but in the recent South Cerney sale bidding reached £2400.

A second ex-Evelyn lot, a 1609, first collected edition in contemporary blind-panelled calf of The Workes… of John Jewel, Bishop of Salisbury, was sold at £1200.

A contemporary manuscript copy of Sheridan’s 1777 play School for Scandal that sold for a much higher than expected £3100 is the subject of an online report.