This is a curated selection of vintage food prints from Mrs Beeton’s Famous cookbook, “The Book of Household Management”.
The book was first published in 1861, selling over 60,000 copies in its first year. And more than 2 million within 7 years of publication. Making it one of the most famous cookbooks ever published.
Isabella Beeton (nee Mayson), was arguably the first domestic goddess. Her book covered many important areas of Victorian household management, from childcare, etiquette and entertaining. Over 80% of the book is recipes. It’s often just referred to as Mrs Beeton’s Cookbook.
Part of the success of Mrs Beeton’s Cookbook is the revolutionary way recipes are written. They are accompanied by coloured illustrations, ingredients are listed at the beginning and cooking times are given. Many recipes are presented in the same way today.
The full title of the book is “The book of household management; comprising information for the mistress … Also, sanitary, medical, & legal memoranda; with a history of the origin, properties, and uses of all things connected with home life and comfort“
Isabella was born in London in 1836 and educated at a German boarding school. She married The publisher Samuel Beeton at the age of 20.
Isabella wrote for some of her husband’s domestic magazines, translating French stories and writing a cookery column. At the age of 25, she wrote her seminal work “The Book of Household Management”. Sadly she died four years later at the young age of 28 years old after giving birth to her fourth child, from an infection.
As the eldest of 21 children, Isabella had a lot of experience in running a busy household. Many of the domestic duties of cooking, cleaning and raising her siblings were her responsibility. This helped informed her ideas in the book.
However, not all the recipes in the book were original. Mrs Beeton got many of her recipes from other cookbooks, household books and magazines. The way she presented and displayed the information in a system the Victorians found easy to follow, was unique.
Mrs Beeton’s Cookbook Food Illustrations
Mrs Beeton’s cookbook is well over 100 years old, so all the vintage images shared here are in the Public Domain. That means that they are copyright free, so you can print and use them as you wish.
Click on the title above the vintage food illustration you want to download. A higher resolution image will open in a new window in your browser. If you click on the image you will be able to save or print it.
Note the images here are from several different editions of Mrs Beeton’s book, published between 1861 & 1907.
1. Various Fish Dishes
Mrs Beeton’s book has a couple of chapters on fish, from what fish to choose and how to prepare and how best to dress it.
2. Dressed Seafood
How to serve and dress oysters, lobster and crab.
3. Types of Fish
Fish identification poster from The Book of Household Management.
4. More Varieties of Fish
From crab to Dover sole.
5. Dressed Fish Dishes
From oyster patties to dressed crab.
6. Meat Dishes – Mrs Beeton
From croquettes of fowl to a garnished calf’s head.
7. More Meat Dishes
From legs of mutton to pigs feet.
8. Poultry Dishes
9. Modern Mode of Serving Dishes
10. Galantine of Turkey
11. Various Fruits
Desert fruits from apricots to Victoria plumbs.
There are a collection of amazing watercolor fruit paintings on Pictureboxblue.
From Toulouse pasty to veal stew.
13. Cold Dishes
A selection of cold dishes from pigeon pie to piped ham.
14. Bacon and Ham
An illustration from Mrs Beaton’s cookbook showing all the different cuts of bacon and ham from a pig.
15. Game And Poultry
From snipe on toast to boiled fowl.
16. Vegetable Dishes
Cooked vegetables from croquette potatoes to new carrots.
Check out these cool Adolphe Millot vegetable posters.
17. More Vegetables
More vegetable dishes from braized celery to braized onions.
18. Various Sweet Dishes
From pancakes to Simnel cake.
19. More Fruits
From black grapes to pineapples.
20. Various Salads
From cucumber salad to salad Dumas all in Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management.
21. Cheese Variety Poster
A print from Mrs Beeton’s Cookbook of 20 different cheeses.
(There is a selection of vintage cheese labels on Pictureboxblue).
- Double Gloucester
- York Cream
- Port du Salut
- Cream Bondon
- Wiltshire Loaf
- Cheddar Loaf.
22. Various Table Settings
Table layouts in the book of Household Management.
23. Super Buffet For Ball Room
24. Menu and Guest Cards
25. Jellies and other Deserts
I hope you enjoyed these wonderful food images from Mrs Beeton’s book. You might like to check out these other vintage books and advertising images on the site.
As well as looking great for home decoration, I think these vintage food prints would also be great for making decoupaged placemats.
Tuesday 3rd of May 2022
Oh, my! All the things I can do with your generous posts! I'm about to restore my home after years of neglect and I can use this to decorate and I'm thinking this would be wonderful to use as cover + separation sheets for a recipe binder. Thanks so much!
Wednesday 4th of May 2022
Thank you, that sounds like a lovely use of the images.