1791 The Honours of the Table, or, Rules for Behaviour by Rev. John Trusler (with The Art of Carving). Illustrated.


A delightful work, by a self-proclaimed 18th century jack-of-all trades and master-of-all, John Trusler.

Prepared and published by the author, Honours of the Table functions as a how-to for considerations of the 18th century dinner table; it still holds strong interest for what it did accomplish (meat carving and market guide) and what it endeavored to accomplish (burdensome and humorous late 18th century social guidelines).

This work has developed particular interest for culinary collectors; it contains an early illustrated guide to properly cutting various meats, The Art of Carving, and a guide to selecting meat, eggs, etc. at the market.

The chapters on appropriate 18th century table behavior, for both "youth" and "young women", contain a number of eyebrow raising guidelines.

Just a few quotes, from many:

"Smell not your meat when eating."

"Spit not on the carpet."

"Punch no one in conversation."

For young women:

"Dread becoming cheap."

"Read no novels, but let your study be in history, etc."

"Trust no female acquaintance."

Trusler, in contemporary advertisements, was proud of his works; regarding his The Progress of Man and Society, he states:

"... it will be found to be the most entertaining and informing book that ever yet was published, and what every parent or instructor should put in the hands of youth..."

And when discussing the woodcuts he prepared for Proverbs Exemplified:

"... so well designed, and the characters in human life so well drawn and preserved, the persons of taste may examine them with pleasure; and Dr. Trusler ventures to say, are no ways inferior to Hogarth's."

Unfortunately this copy does not include his aggrandizing advertisements.

Title Page -

Not uncommon to this period, the title page attempts to describe the entire work:

The Honours of the Table, or, Rules for Behaviour During Meals; with the whole Art of Carving, illustrated by a variety of cuts. Together with Directions for Going to the Market, and the Method of Distinguishing Good Provisions from Bad; to which is added A Number of Hints or Concise Lessons for the Improvement of Youth, on all Occasions in Life. By the Author of Principles of Politeness, etc. For the Use of Young People.

Physical Attributes -

Measures approx. 16 x 10 x 1 cm, 12mo. Calf binding. Illustrated. Pages - 120. Signatures signed A-E12.

Condition -

See pictures. Contemporary calf binding well worn with edge wear, corner wear and some rubbing to the boards, joints cracked. There is a worm route along the rear board. Top and bottom of spine are chipped exposing the ties used to bind the signatures.

"Mrs. Jennings 1872" written on the flyleaf. Ghost of ink inscription on the same flyleaf, from something that was once placed inside the front cover of the books. Turn-ins have ghosted through to the title page. An ex-libris bookplate was removed from over the armorial of Trusler, but a few traces remain. Some toning throughout, more near page edge. Occasional fox spot, thumb, and dog-eared page. Tiny chip (.5 cm) at bottom of 79/80. The "Valuable Hints... Worth the Attention of Young Persons" has some pen marks on pages 112/13. Thumbing at bottom of 116. No flyleaf (free blank endpaper) at rear. Turn-in has again ghosted rear leaf (120).

Mostly the text block is clean, with nice margins.

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