Isabella Mary Beeton was born in London is 1836, where she grew up in a household of twenty-one children. It took Isabella four years to compile her masterwork, publishing Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management in 1861. It contains an enormous amount of information to help people live, in Isabella Beeton's own words, 'economically, tastefully and well'. Her style, imparting information as clearly and simply as possible, was hugely influential. The book sold 60,000 copies in its first year, but Isabella Beeton died four years later, in 1865, aged just twenty-eight. The enduring popularity of Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management is testament to the quality of her advice.
Nicola Humble is a Lecturer in English at Roehampton Institute of Higher Education.