24mo (binding size 94 x 37 mm). Collation: A-D8 E4.  pages. Woodcut arms of the Prince-Bishop of Liège, Georges-Louis de Berghes (1662-1743), as frontispiece. Quires A and B (the calendar) interleaved (single leaves, centers of quires with double leaves). Small text woodcuts of moon phases. Fine condition. Contemporary green silk over pasteboards, embroidered with silver thread, both covers with central diapered cartouche disposed as if emerging from the spine, flanked by flowers and arabesques, border of asymmetrically aligned small repeated ovals, spine with central four-petalled blossom and four arcs above and below; gilt edges, gold and pink floral Dutch-gilt endpapers. ***
A very small pocket almanac in an exquisitely preserved embroidered binding, whose unusual design tricks the eye into expecting an oblong format.
In a small space, this rare almanac contains much useful information: an interleaved calendar with advice on plantings, lists of birth years of European royalty and of markets and fairs, a 5-page essay containing “Remarks on the Origin of Commerce,” a schedule of the major postal coaches, times of sunrise and sunset, court dates, tables of the clergy’s taxes on grain (Effractions), and a calendar of the 40-hour devotion. The subtitle lists the date counted from the Creation, the Flood, the Birth of Christ (i.e., standard CE date), his Resurrection, and the Gregorian revision. On the verso is the privilege, granted to Everard Kints on 16 March 1737. Kints was a wealthy Liège publisher, who in 1744 would be granted the title of printer to the Prince-Bishop. This was the first issue of the long-running Petit almanach published under his imprint: the earliest privilege had been granted to J. L. Milst in 1699; it was handed down to the latter’s widow in 1730, who relinquished it to Kints in 1737. He renewed the privilege twice, in 1740 and 1744.
Only a handful of copies of this miniature almanac survive. One of them is in the Patricia Pistner collection, and is described by Jan Storm van Leeuwen in her catalogue. The Pistner copy is decorated with painted hunting scenes framed in embroidered silver and colored silk thread. Interestingly, the bindings of both the Pistner copy and two other copies with similar embroidered bindings cited by Prof. Storm van Leeuwen, are presented “sideways,” like the present binding. All these bindings are notable for their use of silver thread, and they may all have been embroidered and bound in the same workshop: “There is no indication that Kints ever operated his own bindery, but it is likely that these very similar textile coverings with a baroque frame of silver thread on his almanacs all came from one embroiderer, and there may have been one binder able to so skillfully mount these coverings around the bindings” – A Matter of Size: Miniature bindings and texts from the collection of Patricia J. Pistner (NY, 2019), no. 110. Item #2972