Plague water is one of the more striking entries in a now worn but finely bound volume of cookery and medical recipes sold recently in London.
Extracted from Antiques Trade Gazette | Ian McKay
Accomplished in several hands, a 134pp manuscript sold for £9000 by Forum Auctions (25/20/12% buyer’s premium) as part of its March 28 auction would appear to have been started by a Mrs Sarah Jackson in 1688 and continued by others until 1755.
The plague water recipe, which to modern eyes may seem a trifle puzzling and demanding, instructs the reader to “Take sage, salendine, rue, rosemary, rososols, mugwort, pimpernel dragons scabins… of each of these half an ounce cardimum seed a penny worth. Put all these in a gallon of brandy…”
Also found among the medical entries is “a receit of a cake to cure anythinge yt is bitt by a mad dog”, and another for treating “a swelling of ye privy parts”.
Among the recipes are “Aunt Aubrey’s” 16 egg cake, a “Custard posset”, and of course a “Puffe Past”.
Dedicated to the Ladies of Dublin by ‘A Lady’ who elsewhere calls herself Ceres, a printed work of 1767 called The Lady’s Companion: or, Accomplish’d Director in the whole Art of Cookery… was also part of this Forum auction.
Bibliographies include a work with a similar title, but Forum notes that this Dublin work, printed for John Mitchell, appears to be a different and very rare cookery book. It sold well at £2800.