VOLUME CREATED BY LADY NINA BALFOUR AND VICTORIA ALEXANDRINE MONTAGU SCOTT (LATER LADY LOTHIAN)
Recently acquired by Edinburgh University Library is a fine bound manuscript volume of cookery and recipes compiled initially by Lady Nina Balfour of Balbirnie and then continued by Victoria Alexandrine Montagu Scott.
The volume was gifted by Balfour to Scott in about 1864-65, presumably in anticipation of her coming marriage, and was added to over some eighty years at Monteviot House (the Borders home of the Marquis of Lothian and the Kerr family).
Victoria Alexandrine Montagu Scott was a daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch & Queensberry, and she married Schomberg Henry Kerr, 9th Marquess of Lothian on 23 February 1865, becoming Lady Lothian. Lord Lothian was Scottish Secretary, 1887-1892.
Spanning the Victorian and Edwardian eras and encompassing two World Wars, the recipes in the ms volume form an interesting chronicle of the Scottish country house diet.
The opening pages created by Lady Nina Balfour are decorated with recipes and illustrations for Scottish staples, such as: Sheep’s Head Pie, Cockie Leekie, Porridge, Fish & Sauce plus Kedgeree and Boiled Cheese. Lady Victoria then takes over, with the book remaining in her family for the rest of her life and updated to 1945.
The Victoria Alexandrine recipes are varied: chicken curry, several hotch potches, flan Germanique, Spanish Salad, ginger beer, liniment and chocolate cake. These are often dated from Monteviot and with a note of sources… Monteviot House in the Borders is the residence of the Marquess of Lothian.
Dr. Graeme D. Eddie, Assistant Librarian Archives & Manuscripts, Centre for Research Collections, Edinburgh University Library