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The Art of Needlework dates from the earliest record of the world's history, and has, also, from time immemorial been the support, comfort, or employment of women of every rank and age. Day by day, it increases its votaries, who enlarge and develop its various branches, so that any addition and assistance in teaching or learning Needlework will be welcomed by the Daughters of England, "wise of heart," who work diligently with their hands. The recent introduction of Point Lace has brought a finer, and, apparently, more difficult class of fancy work into general favour. Ladies may now, however, confidently commence, with our patterns before them, to reproduce Antique laces; for care and patience, with a knowledge of Point Lace stitches, are alone required to perfect the beautiful work, which, as shown in existing specimens of exquisite Old Lace, constitute the chief glory of women's refined industry in past centuries.
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Isabella Mary Beeton ( 14 March 1836 – 6 February 1865), also known as Mrs Beeton, was an English journalist, editor and writer. Her name is particularly associated with her first book, the 1861 work Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management. She was born in London and, after schooling in Islington, north London, and Heidelberg, Germany, she married Samuel Orchart Beeton, an ambitious publisher and magazine editor. In 1857, less than a year after the wedding, Isabella began writing for one of her husband's publications, The Englishwoman's Domestic Magazine. She translated French fiction and wrote the cookery column, though all the recipes were plagiarised from other works or sent in by the magazine's readers. In 1859 the Beetons launched a series of 48-page monthly supplements to The Englishwoman's Domestic Magazine; the 24 instalments were published in one volume as Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management in October 1861, which sold 60,000 copies in the first year. Isabella was working on an abridged version of her book, which was to be titled The Dictionary of Every-Day Cookery, when she died of puerperal fever in February 1865 at the age of 28. She gave birth to four children, two of whom died in infancy, and had several miscarriages. Two of her biographers, Nancy Spain and Kathryn Hughes, posit the theory that Samuel had unknowingly contracted syphilis in a premarital liaison with a prostitute, and had unwittingly passed the disease on to his wife. The Book of Household Management has been edited, revised and enlarged several times since Isabella's death and is still in print as at 2016. Food writers have stated that the subsequent editions of the work were far removed from and inferior to the original version. Several cookery writers, including Elizabeth David and Clarissa Dickson Wright, have criticised Isabella's work, particularly her use of other people's recipes. Others, such as the food writer Bee Wilson, consider the censure overstated, and that Beeton and her work should be thought extraordinary and admirable. Her name has become associated with knowledge and authority on Victorian cooking and home management, and the Oxford English Dictionary states that by 1891 the term Mrs Beeton had become used as a generic name for a domestic authority. She is also considered a strong influence in the building or shaping of a middle-class identity of the Victorian era.
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