4to (193 x 150 mm).  pp. Printed in red and black. Large woodcut printer’s device on title, 12 half-page woodcuts. Interleaved with double leaves. Contemporary Middleburg binding of gold-tooled calf, from the Rosette Roll Bindery, covers with outer ornamental bird roll and inner scallop roll, at center the crowned arms of the province of Zeeland, surrounded by an exuberant array of repeated rose, carnation and shell tools, smooth spine in 8 compartments with repeated flowering plant tool, gilt edges, remains of one (of two) green silk fore-edge ties, marbled endpapers; a few small scrapes to front cover, joints and extremities rubbed. Provenance: unidentified inkstamped initial M.***
An attractive interleaved Dutch almanac, illustrated with 12 large emblematic woodcuts of monthly activities, several showing Amsterdam, delightfully bound in Zeeland.
The Amsterdam comptoir or “office almanacs” were issued yearly by successive members of the Stichter printing family from 1728 (date of the privilege, printed in every edition) to the mid-19th century. Unlike their French counterparts, these Dutch almanacs were generously proportioned, being intended literally for the “counters” of merchants and businessmen, rather than for gentlemen’s or ladies’ pockets. The contents were invariably as follows, and the calendars were always interleaved: one page is devoted to each month, containing a half-page woodcut above a blank space for notes on the recto, and the monthly calendar on the verso. These woodcuts, each with a tiny inset astrological sign, show indoor and outdoor scenes: ice-skating in January, a family huddled by the fire, with boisterous children in the background, in February, tree-trimming and pruning in March, gardening in April, a pastoral scene with lovers in May, sheep-shearing in June, and so on. The haymaking scene for August clearly derives from Bruegel. Most of the blocks are here rather worn.
The calendar includes a short poem, phases of the moon, market days and locations, a "Prognostication" and historical data. At the end is the Privilege followed by six pages of miscellaneous information, mainly postal and transportation schedules (by coach or ship).
This copy was bound in Middleburg, Zeeland, in the bindery dubbed by Jan Storm van Leeuwen the Rosette Roll Bindery, “one of the largest and most important Middleburg binderies of the eighteenth century” (DDB IIB, p. 585), active from about 1736 to the 1770s. The tools are identified by Storm van Leeuwen: roll-tools II and XVIII, tools 4, 10, 14 and b, and 21. The arms of Zeeland (impressed slightly crookedly on both covers) are tools Zeel A and B.
Cf. Jan Storm van Leeuwen, Dutch Decorated Bookbinding in the Eighteenth Century, vol. IIB, pp. 559 and 585-597. Grateful thanks to the author for his guidance on the binding. Item #2939