24mo (101 x 61 mm). 48 pages; ,  leaves. Frontispiece portrait, engraved title, and six engraved plates by Leroux after Desenne. Printed in very small types. The Petit Souvenir, entirely engraved, comprises  pages, for weekly and monthly notes, all with rule border, all blank except for heading, and, for the months, 12 engraved vignettes and part-borders; four blank pages at end (with rule borders). 12-page letterpress calendar for 1814 bound at end. A few small spots, stains to two calendar leaves. Original pink glazed boards, edges gilt over marbling, matching slipcase (the latter rubbed).***
Only Edition of a women’s literary keepsake devoted to thwarted loves. In 1636 the unhappily married King Louis XIII allegedly became enamored of the 17-year-old Louise Motier de Lafayette, who may have reciprocated his affection. Richelieu tried to make her his spy; she refused, and a year later entered the convent of the Visitandines at Chaillot, of which she later became the Mother Superior. King and nun remained close friends. The almanac contains a prose account of her life, and various romances (poems) on other star-crossed lovers, both fictive and historic, also shown in the delicate engravings. Besides the titular subject, shown with Louis XIII, these include Clément Marot & Marguerite de Valois, and Valentine de Milan [Valentina Visconti], mourning her husband Louis de Valois, Duc d’Orléans, assassinated by his cousin in 1407. An exception to the general sentimentality is a portrait of “la Coquette,” showing a fashionably dressed woman reading a letter in front of her writing table, while a suitor waits behind.
Grand-Carteret, no. 1806, states that this belongs to the same series as two other almanacs of the period, Marie-Antoinette and Madame Elisabeth de France (his nos. 1745 and 1744), although those were published by Le Fuel and were in a larger format. Like those almanacs, this one was reissued over several years, with different calendars; his copy had a calendar for 1817. I locate no other copies. Item #4024