Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Exercise book

Exercise book

  • Place of origin:

    Derby (made)

  • Date:

    13 February 1812 (made)
    1812 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Hood, Francis, born 1800 - died 1863 (author)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Folded and bound paper and ink

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Barbara Jones

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The complex mathematical processes in this exercise book were completed by Francis Hood at the age of twelve or thirteen. The examples are meant to teach practical arithmetic for real-world applications. Many exercises involve calculating the price of contemporary commodities such as tea, tobacco and currants. Many more involve working out the interest on sums lent or borrowed.
Francis's handwriting is impeccable; there are no blots on the page or any crossing out of mistakes. He went on to establish a successful tailors in Ashbourne which stayed in the family for generations.

Physical description

Paperback exercise book with elaborately marbled cover in blue, black, yellow and red. Inside front cover is an inscription in large black writing, with the name of Francis Hood and the place and date the book was started: Derby, February 13 1812. There are also a number of six-petalled flower designs, drawn with a compass.

The rest of the book is comprised of various mathematical topics. Each section has a large handwritten title, followed by a set of rules and a worked examples. The headings are:
- Rule of Three
- The Rule of Five
- Practice
The final section of practice includes lots of 'real world' examples, using commodities such as Malaga raisins, cheese, hops, currants, tobacco, double refined sugar and soap.
- Simple Interest
- Commission
- Purchasing Stocks
- Brokage
In this section, at the right margin of one page there is a crude pencil doodle of a face in profile, under the word 'Francis'.
- Compound Interest
- Vulgar Fractions
- Reduction of Vulgar Fractions

Next to the final answer on a number of examples is the Latin word 'facit', which could be translated to mean 'it does'.

The dates February 27th, March 5th and March 25th occur several pages apart.
Throughout, black ink pen is used for letters and numerals, with red used for margins, grid lines and underlining.
The inside back cover features the name Francis written horizontally in a bold script, framed by efflorescent looping lines.

Place of Origin

Derby (made)


13 February 1812 (made)
1812 (made)


Hood, Francis, born 1800 - died 1863 (author)

Materials and Techniques

Folded and bound paper and ink

Marks and inscriptions

'If 6 men can mow 72 acres of grass in 12 days, how many men can mow 120 acres in 4 days'
From 'The rule of five'


Height: 22.5 cm, Width: 18.5 cm

Object history note

This collection of books belonged to Derby tailor Francis Hood and his children.

Francis was born in Ashbourne, Derby, in 1800. In 1823 he married Susanna Wilson, and they had five children. All their names, apart from the youngest, Susanna, appear on the exercise and copy books. Francis was a successful tailor, and the enterprise grew to be a flourishing family business.

George (born 1827) was a tailor with his father by the age of 14. He died aged only 24.

Elizabeth (born 1830) became a milliner and dressmaker. She married Scottish draper John Train, but was soon widowed, and thereafter is listed as woollen goods trader as well as dressmaker.

Francis (born 1832) moved to Australia, possibly before his twentieth birthday, where he stayed the rest of his life.

Henry (born 1836) was an apprentice in 1851. Ten years later, at the age of 25, he inherited the family business, and by 1881 was employing 6 men and 2 boys. He was married to Elizabeth from Somerset, and they had six children. He was able to retire in his mid-sixties and move to a country house on the proceeds of the business. Soon after, Elizabeth died, but Henry remarried at the age of 72 to a woman 31 years his junior. His second son George (born 1868) continued the Hood dynasty from the 1890s, though the shop in St John Street, Ashbourne, remained 'Henry Hood & Son' in 1900.

Susanna (born 1838) never married, and lived with Elizabeth. She was also a dressmaker.

The books were passed down through Henry's children to the donor's husband.

Descriptive line

Marbled paper cover, containing maths exercises, by Francis Hood, Derby, 1812


Ink; Paper




Children & Childhood; Education & Learning

Production Type



Museum of Childhood

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.