Exceptional example of a seventeenth-century Laurent d'Houry Paris almanac, interleaved, and bound in period retail vellum, decorated and dated in gilt. Grand-Carteret, in his bibliography of French almanacs and calendars, remarks that the bibliographer Edouard Fournier thought that the earliest in this series of almanacs was published in 1679, though Grand-Carteret knew only of a 1683 edition, and that the series ran through 1698, after which it transposed into the Almanach Royale (for Louis XIV), one of the most popular and long-running of all French almanacs. D'Houry's Almanac evolved over the years, and every edition had new or updated material—some were were more medical in tone and content, others social—some included the best times to get one's hair cut. Our 1697 edition (probably printed between October and December of 1696) bears much scientific data, including information on eclipses, but also has much bureaucratic and forensic info on tribunals and city posts. At the end are two engraved tables on tariffs, and two tide charts, the latter both folding. English almanacs of this period were produced very cheaply, printed on the meanest of paper stock; the seventeenth-century French product was a far more conscientious affair. The present book is well-printed on stout sheets, and interleaved with even thicker paper, the text block bound in vellum and dated 1697 in gilt within a floral cartouche on both boards. An attractive exemplar, known in a single institutional copy (Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal).
Paris: Laurent D'Houry, 1696.
Octavo, 186 x 127 x 11 mm (binding), 184 x 125 x 9 mm (text block). A-E8; 80 pp., plus four engraved tables (two folding). Period vellum gilt, a.e.g. Soiling and wear to covers. On lower board a contemporary owner has noted in French that they kept the book expressly for its scientific information and its "curious" nature. Interior: Underlining and scattered marginal notes; some spotting, otherwise clean and crisp.
19th-century ink custodial signature Escoffier to upper pastedown (probably not Auguste); ownership remark to verso of front free end in pencil: Esme Lowe, November, 2005 | Atalanta St. London, SW6.