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Mrs Beetons Household Management Wonderful Color Illustrations

Updated on December 23, 2017
Ben Reed profile image

Ben has held a life-long interest in language and has a special interest in the expressions, phrases and idioms that contribute to its use.

Welcome To The World Of Mrs Beeton's Food Illustrations (in colour).

Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management was first published as a book in 1861 and was a guide to the running of a Victorian household.

Mrs Beeton's book contains over 900 recipes and used colored plates to illustrate some of her recipes.

This article is dedicated to a selection of the wonderful colour plates contained within the book. The high quality colour plates were used to illustrate Mrs Beeton's book and today these colour plates are collected in their own right.

How the Illustrations are described in the preface to Mrs Beetons Book

"The book has been copiously illustrated in the most useful manner. Hundreds of photographic reproductions of actual dishes, processes, and materials have been included. No expense, however great, has been spared in obtaining the best possible results. The numerous coloured plates have been faithfully reproduced from nature, and printed in fourteen colours in the highest style of lithographic art".

Coloured Plate from Mrs Beeton's Book - 1909

Roast Meats
Roast Meats

Quadrupeds - Mammalia - Cattle and their Characteristics.

Chapter 14 of Mrs Beeton's Book is titled: GENERAL OBSERVATIONS ON QUADRUPEDS and contains general notes on Mammalia and the different breeds of cattle and their characteristics. It also contains her thought on the cooking of joints of meat.

"Roasting, baking, boiling, stewing, braising, frying, and grilling are the usual methods of cooking animal food. To explain the philosophy of these simple operations, we must notice the effects that are produced by heat on the principle constitutents of flesh".

Who was Mrs Beeton?

Isabella Mary Beeton was born 12th March 1836 in London, England.

In 1856, Isabella married and shortly after she began writing articles on cooking and household management for her husband, Samuel who was a publisher.

By October 1861, a series of Isabella's monthly magazine supplements were published as a single volume - The Book of Household Management containing over 1,100 pages.

Isabella Beeton died young at only 28 after contracting a fever.

Mrs Beeton

1. Mrs Beeton - from a BBC Play   2. Isabella Beeton - 1854   3. Mrs Beeton - 1860
1. Mrs Beeton - from a BBC Play 2. Isabella Beeton - 1854 3. Mrs Beeton - 1860

How was Mrs Beeton received in her own time?

By 1909 and the release of the new edition of Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management, Mrs Beeton had been considered the guide, philosopher and friend of countless happy homes. Her Household Management had appeared amongst the wedding presents of a bride as surely as the salt cellars, and thousands of thousands of grateful letters testify that it has often proved the most useful gift of all. source: preface of Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management - 1909

Mrs Beeton's Colour Illustration of Soups - 1909

Soups Illustration From Mrs Beeton's Book

Mrs Beeton's states that there are "between 500 and 600 different soups". These range from stocks for all kind of soups - Bone Stock, Brown Stock, Fish Stock etc. to Broths such as Sheep's Head Broth. I particularly like some of the more unusual named soups such as: Good Woman's Soup, Benevolent Soup & Sour Cherry Soup.

This famous historical chef describes 3 classifications of soup:

  1. Broths - unclarified liquor in which chicken, veal, beef, mutton, rabbit or sheep head is cooked.
  2. Clear Soups - the basis of which is double stock.
  3. Thick Soups - this class of soup often being garnished as well as thickened.

I love this quote from the preface of Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management 1909:

"I must frankly own that, if I had known beforehand the labour which this book has entailed, I should never have been courageous enough to commence it. What moved me, in the first instance, to attempt a work like this, was the discomfort and suffering I have seen brought about by household mis-management I have always thought that there is no more fruitful source of family discontent than badly-cooked dinners and untidy ways".

Mrs Beeton's Family

Did you know: Mrs Beeton was from a family with 21 children? Mrs Beeton was the eldest of 4 from her mothers first marriage. After the death of Mrs Beeton's father, her mother remarried a widower with 4 children of his own, and together the couple went on to have 13 more children of their own.

"I must frankly own that, if I had known beforehand the labour which this book has entailed, I should never have been courageous enough to commence it. What moved me, in the first instance, to attempt a work like this, was the discomfort and suffering I have seen brought about by household mis-management I have always thought that there is no more fruitful source of family discontent than badly-cooked dinners and untidy ways".

— Mrs Beeton, preface of Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management 1909

Mrs Beeton's Illustrations of Fish

Chapter 11 is titled FISH and contains the average prices & general directions for preparing and cooking fish dishes. I enjoyed the section on "Reptiles as Food" which goes on to describe Turtles and edible frogs as food.

Mrs Beeton's Colour Illustration of Fish
Mrs Beeton's Colour Illustration of Fish

Description of Mrs Beeton's Illustration of Fish

Coloured plate from Mrs Beetons Book of Household Management:

1. Red Mullet, 2. Grayling, 3. John Dory, 4. Mackerel, 5. Cod, 6. Whiting, 7. Salmon,

8. Herring, 9. Plaice, 10. Flounder, 11. Gurnet, 12. Crayfish.

Mrs Beeton's Illustration of Fish Dishes

Coloured plate from Mrs Beetons Book of Household Management:

1. Oyster Patties

2. Whiting

3. Turbot

4. Whitebait

5. Mackerel

6. Mayonnaise Salmon

7. Lobster

8. Crab

Mrs Beeton - Illustration of Fish Dishes

Mrs Beeton states:

"Few domestic animals are so profitable or so useful to man as the much maligned pig, and no other yields him a more varied or more luxurious repast".

— Mrs Beeton,

Why not take part in my poll? - Its a bit of fun.

Mrs Beeton is better remembered for her recipes or her general household management tips?

See results

I hope that you have enjoyed this article.

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    • Ben Reed profile imageAUTHOR

      Ben Reed 

      5 years ago from Redcar

      @goldenrulecomics: Thank you.

    • goldenrulecomics profile image


      5 years ago from New Jersey

      Nicely done

    • aviwolfson profile image

      Avi Wolfson 

      5 years ago from Massachusetts

      Great lens!

    • M Sankey profile image

      M Sankey 

      6 years ago

      We are not sure exactly who is responsible for the content of Mrs Beeton's books. She would have had servants and her husband was a publisher, but this is a great lense.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Loved this lens. I've always heard of Mrs. Beeton's books, but never actually read one. I love old books and old recipes.

    • cdevries profile image


      6 years ago

      Thanks for this Lens - I've read about Mrs. Beaton's book many times, so it was interesting to learn more about it.

    • SquidooPower profile image


      6 years ago

      L-O-V-E potato soup! (hint: put tabasco sauce in it)

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 

      7 years ago from Central Florida

      I love vintage illustrations like these. Really nice!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Excellent Lens!

    • FanfrelucheHubs profile image

      Nathalie Roy 

      7 years ago from France (Canadian expat)

      I love vintage books, and do collect antique color plates. It's the first time I hear about this Mrs Beeton, it's fun trip back in time. But I enjoyed particularly the beautiful color plates

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image


      7 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      Interesting story about Mrs. Beeton, and a nice selection of recipes. I had not heard of her before, but then I'm not much of a cook, so seldom read through cookbooks! :-)

    • clouda9 lm profile image

      clouda9 lm 

      7 years ago

      Wonderfully put together page, loved the Mrs. Beeton color illustrations. I often refer to her cookery book (1920ish), especially for the unique wording.

      PS Seems some HTML is jumbled up about 1/3 of the way down your page...I bet it is something from AllPosters :)

    • UKGhostwriter profile image


      7 years ago

      fantastic idea - well done!!

    • sheriangell profile image


      7 years ago

      I've seen Mrs. Beeton before. You've done an excellent job introducing her here. I just love the photos. Blessed by a Squid Angel today.

    • makingamark profile image

      Katherine Tyrrell 

      7 years ago from London

      I've seen Mrs Beeton before - we used to have one at home but I can't remember whether it had colour pages - I rather think not. It's fascinating to see those colour illustrations

    • spritequeen lm profile image

      spritequeen lm 

      7 years ago

      Very interesting! I really enjoy reading old books like that. Don't have a CLUE what she's talking about half the time, but maybe that's what sparks the intrigue - because it IS so different :-D. Thanks for sharing!

    • JakTraks profile image

      Jacqueline Marshall 

      7 years ago from Chicago area

      Never knew about Mrs. Beeton until now - probably because I don't cook much. Excellent lens.

    • Ben Reed profile imageAUTHOR

      Ben Reed 

      7 years ago from Redcar

      @mariaamoroso: Thank for you comments. All the illustrations are from Mrs Beetons Book of Household Management published in 1909. Her book contained wonderful pictures - there are more of then on my lens Mrs Beetons Illustrations.

    • mariaamoroso profile image


      7 years ago from Sweden

      Amazing illustrations! Are they all from her book?

    • delia-delia profile image


      7 years ago

      Very nicely done lens...wonderful illustrations...still can't figure out who did the illustrations

    • MamaBelle profile image

      Francis Luxford 

      7 years ago from United Kingdom

      I enjoyed this Lens. Thanks for putting it together so well. I loved the illustrations!

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 

      7 years ago from Vermont

      Mrs Beeton's recipe for chicken salad sounds mighty tasty. My grandmother used to make tripe and something called finnan haddie ... does Mrs B have recipes?

    • LisaMarieGabriel profile image

      Lisa Marie Gabriel 

      7 years ago from United Kingdom

      My favorite Mrs Beeton recipe started with words like this. "Take a thin slice of cheese about one inch thick" Ahhh.... the age of innocence... :)

    • CherylK profile image

      Cheryl Kohan 

      7 years ago from Minnesota

      I loved reading this lens. The illustrations are really remarkable and I'm impressed that Mrs. Beeton's husband encouraged her writing. I really think the Good Wife soup looks tasty and might give it a go. Also, the Chicken Salad appeals to me. Nice lens...good job!

    • sukkran trichy profile image

      sukkran trichy 

      7 years ago from Trichy/Tamil Nadu

      i enjoyed this lens. your layout is attractive and some of the above recipes are new varieties. book marked this lens.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Very cool to have come up with Mrs Beetons for a lens.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I really like this, its so creative and original. Thank you for the experience!!!

    • juditpaton profile image

      Iudit Gherghiteanu 

      7 years ago from Ozun

      wonderful lens!the photos are a bit too much for somebody like me,trying to loose weight, but worth to see such a collection of tempting meals.thank you for your work.

    • Susanne-Iles profile image

      Susanne Iles 

      7 years ago from Canada

      What a delightful lens!!! I came for the artwork and left with a notebook full of recipes...thank you so much for taking the time to craft such a lovely piece. :)


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