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Mrs Rundell

Maria Rundell

Maria Rundell

Maria Rundell née Ketelby (1747-1828), the daughter of a barrister, lived in London and Shropshire when she was young and married Thomas Rundell, a Bath surgeon, at the age of 21; they had five children. After her husband died in 1800 she travelled frequently on visits to friends and relations, but found time to collect and sort her large collection of receipts and remedies for her three daughters. She eventually sent the manuscript to the publisher John Murray, an old family friend, and it was published in 1806 as A New System of Domestic Cookery; a second edition was written at Swansea, where Mrs Rundell was then living with her married daughter. Every year 5-10,000 copies were sold and the book, one of the earliest manuals of household management, became one of Murray’s most valuable properties. In 1814 there was a law suit over the copyright: Mrs Rundell eventually accepted Murray’s offer of 2000 guineas. By 1841 there had been 65 editions. The Persephone reprint is the 1816 edition.

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