A spread from a 1685, first complete edition of Philippe Syvestre Dufour’s Traité… du Café, du Thé et du Chocolate in a richly gilt and contemporary calf binding – £750 at Forum.

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The two most expensive works in a sale of the gastronomy collection of the late Caroline Crisford held at Forum (25/20/12.5% buyer’s premium) were both published in 1654 and in each case sold well over estimate.

Featuring all manner of savoury and sweet dishes, a number of pies and tarts among them, and illustrated with three small woodcuts of pie shapes, was a first edition of Joseph Cooper’s The Art of Cookery refined…

Showing some foxing and staining throughout and in modern marbled boards, it was bid to £17,000 in the online-only auction that ended on June 23.

Condition did seem to be an issue with some of these lots, but they were of course used in the kitchen, not carefully perused in the library.


The frontispiece and title-page of The French Cook, a 1654 second edition of an English translation of a pioneering work by François Pierre la Varenne – £16,000 at Forum.

Billed as the only copy that could be traced at auction, a 1654 second edition of an English translation of a work by the founding father of ‘modern’ French cuisine, François Pierre la Varenne, the creator of many famous sauces and the literary source of many now very familiar cookery terms, sold at £16,000.

Bearing the joint bookplate of André L Simon and Eleanor Lowenstein and in a now broken 20th century binding, this copy of The French Cook… was last seen at auction in 2011, when as part of the Cetus Library it made £3800 at Bloomsbury Auctions.


Bid to £850 at Forum was a 1687 Paris edition in a contemporary mottled calf binding of Le Bon usage du thé, du caffé et du chocolat pour la préservation & pour la guerison des maladies by Nicolas de Blégny, a physician in the service of Queen Maria Theresa of Spain and, later, Louis XIV.

Well-received when dished up

Other well-received dishes included, at £6500, a stained, spotted, browned and otherwise battered example of the 1747 first edition of Hannah Glasse’s The Art of Cookery (previewed in ATG No 2547), and The Ladies Delight: or, Cook-Maids Best Instructor, an anonymous work of 1759 that sold for £3200.

The collection was put together over a period of 40 years by Crisford, a collector of exceptional books on the subject of gastronomy spanning five centuries.