IMC 2013: Sessions

Session 199: Medieval Feasting: Legacy through the Centuries

Monday 1 July 2013, 13.00-13.45

Sponsor:University Library, University of Leeds
Moderator/Chair:Katy Thornton, Special Collections, Leeds University Library
Speaker:Eileen White, Leeds Symposium on Food History

This session offers a unique opportunity to examine the role of feasting from the 14th century onwards using examples from the renowned cookery book collection in the Brotherton Library’s Special Collections. The collection features long sequences of editions of popular works, through which we can trace the evolution of the texts and see the innovation and changes in taste and fashion, as well as developments in the book trade. The earliest book in the collection is Platina’s De honesta voluptate, Venice, 1487, and there is a second incunable, the Regimen sanitatis, also printed in Venice before 1500. The collection becomes more comprehensive from 1584 onwards, the date of A Booke of Cookrye by the unidentified ‘AW’, one of only two copies in the UK. John Partridge’s The Widowes Treasure, 1585, and Sir Hugh Plat’s Delightes for Ladies, 1605, are the only copies recorded in UK academic libraries, and there are many other works of comparable rarity. In addition to the cookery book collection, Special Collections houses over 200,000 rare books and seven kilometres (4.3 miles) of manuscripts and archives, including the celebrated Brotherton Collection, the Melsteth Icelandic Collection, the Archives of the Dean & Chapter of Ripon, the Roth Collection, and The Oriental Manuscript Collection.

Eileen White is a food historian with a keen interest in how these books can be a source for historical research.

Following the talk there will be an opportunity to observe the collection in more detail. Due to space restrictions this talk is limited to 20 participants, and admission will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Early arrival is therefore strongly recommended.

The Reading Room of Special Collections is open from 09.00-18.00 during the Congress week, and IMC delegates are welcome to pursue their research and explore the collection. More details can be found at .