Italian Recipes

MD 339, Onguente o cerolo straord. dett. Gratia Dei Dama d’Arundell, Arundel Castle Archive. With the kind permission of the Duke of Norfolk

Lady Arundel’s passion for medicine left exceptional archival traces. the The Arundel Castle Archive stores handwritten bundles in folio and quarto format with recipes for remedies and confectionery in Italian, which were devised in the circle of Lady Arundel. Under the signature MD 339 there are unbound sheets in folio format with medical and alchemical recipes in Italian. The manuscript consists of 1164 pages fully covered in hundreds of recipes. In the archive’s inventory MD 339 is dated to the time of Charles II and attributed to his personal physician. Possible authors would therefore be Sir Charles Scarburgh (1615–1693), John Archer (1660–1684) or one of the many other doctors of the King.

Due to the names mentioned in the recipes, Lady Arundel herself among the most frequent ones, it can be assumed that the recipes date from the first half of the 17th century and were written in the immediate circle of the Countess. In addition, another batch of recipes was recently found in Arundel House. This new find, hidden behind a fireplace for the last two centuries, has been partially restored and now available in the archive under the signature ACC 2015/26. Due to improper storage this manuscript had been badly damaged.

Nevertheless, a recipe for Balsamo Locatelli ascribed to Lady Arundel is largely legible thanks to the restoration funded by the Duke of Norfolk a few years ago. The manuscript pages are in Italian with just a few recipes in French. The bundles in quarto format MD 336, 337 and 338 as well as the thousand-page bundle in folio format MD 339 are either copies of lost or oral recipes from the Countess and her circle in Tart Hall or were written directly by herself and her staff and later supplemented by Lady Arundel’s alchemist grandson Charles Howard (1630–1713


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