(London: Simpkin, Marshall, and Co; Birmingham: Thomas Evans, 1838). 272 x 215 mm. (10 7/8 x 8 3/8"). viii, 303 pp. FIRST EDITION.
Contemporary blue half calf over marbled boards, raised bands with gilt tooling, spine panels tooled in blind, light blue title label, marbled endpapers. With engraved frontispiece and 24 plates illustrating patterns and techniques. Front flyleaf with ink presentation inscription: "Ellen Lawson / from Aunt Lizzie. / Jan. 31st 1880." Short cracks to the ends of both joints, extremities, spine, and joints rather rubbed, with boards exposed at corners, paper sides somewhat soiled and chafed, hinges slightly separated (but no looseness), two-inch patch of foxing to title and adjacent leaves, mild browning throughout; with obvious defects, but still generally clean and fresh internally, and in a sound binding.
This rare guidebook intended to help women provide clothing, linens, curtains, and upholstery for their own households, or for their less fortunate neighbors, is deemed "one of the most important needlework manuals of the 19th Century" by textile and costume historian Lynne Zacek Bassett. According to Caroline Sloat of the American Antiquarian Society, "The value of The Workwoman's Guide is that it provides in its text and illustrations the original 19th century instructions for making and cleaning clothing and accessories. Described are hundreds of objects that were stitched from cloth, knitted from yarn, braided, dyed or otherwise converted into utilitarian and ornamental objects of clothing and household furnishing." The anonymous author expresses in the preface her hope that "Clergymen's Wives, Young Married Women, School-mistresses, and Ladies' Maids may find, in the 'Workwoman's Guide,' a fast and serviceable friend." She begins her useful treatise with an introduction to basic needlework, and advice on purchasing fabrics and sewing equipment. Chapters follow on clothing for children and adults; linens for the kitchen, dining table, and bed; upholstery, including bed draperies, window curtains, and seat coverings; cases and bags for storage and travelling; recipes for cleaning solutions, dyes, and insecticides; knitting stitches and instructions; and plaiting ["platting"] straw to make bonnets and hats. Copies of this first edition are quite scarce: ABPC and RBH record just two at auction in the past 45 years. (ST14401)
Add to Cart Price: $3,250.00
PJP Catalog: 74.234