Miniature Almanacks

London Almanack 1811 - 1 1/8" x 1 1/8" - Red leather wallet-style with steel latching mechanism, marbleized end papers, and an inside pocket.

London Almanack 1811 – 1 1/8″ x 1 1/8″ – Red leather wallet-style with steel latching mechanism, marbleized end papers, and an inside pocket.

A series of miniature “London Almanacks” was produced by the Company of Stationers between 1690 and 1885. They were favorite Christmas gifts that could be purchased at stationers shops. From the mid-18th century, they might also be distributed by various merchants to favorite customers in appreciation of their business. They were very popular with ladies, and it is likely that dress makers, milliners, etc. gave them away as Christmas novelties. Because the materials used might include gilt-tooled leather, Venetian bindings, hand-painted silk, and marbleized or hand-colored end papers, these miniature books were luxury items.

The most common sizes for these tiny almanacs was 1 1/8″ square, and 1 1/8″ x 2 1/4″. They were most often presented in protective slipcovers of tooled leather, painted silk, shagreen, or other material. In the early 19th century, wallet style self-latching styles also became popular, almost always in red leather.

The format of the almanack was almost always the same: a title page showing the arms of the City of London ringed with the title and date, and an explanation of the contents (which also shows a red tax stamp until 1834); a multi-paged, and sometimes folding, engraved plate of a London landmark (but not in the tiniest-sized almanacks); “Common Notes” listing the dates for such days as Easter Sunday, Whit Sunday, Advent, etc.; one page per month listing moon phases, festival days, quarter days, etc.; a table of Kings and Queens of England; a listing of Lord Mayors and Sheriffs of London; a list of holidays; a page of current coinage or other currency information.

London Almanack 1826 - 1 1/8" x 2 1/4" - Red leather wallet-style with steel latching mechanism, green leather interior, and an inside pocket. Includes a four-page engraving of "View of Richmond Terrace, Whitehall."London Almanack 1826 - 1 1/8" x 2 1/4" - Red leather wallet-style with steel latching mechanism, green leather interior, and an inside pocket. Includes a four-page engraving of "View of Richmond Terrace, Whitehall."

London Almanack 1826 – 1 1/8″ x 2 1/4″ – Red leather wallet-style with steel latching mechanism, green leather interior, and an inside pocket. Includes a four-page engraving of “View of Richmond Terrace, Whitehall.”

London Almanack 1756 - 1 1/8" x 2 1/4" - Hand-painted silk covers, the front showing flowers and an insect, the reverse showing a Chinese figure carrying a flag. Hand-painted end papers. Includes a four-page engraving of "Greenwich Hospital." London Almanack 1756 - 1 1/8" x 2 1/4" - Hand-painted silk covers, the front showing flowers and an insect, the reverse showing a Chinese figure carrying a flag. Hand-painted end papers. Includes a four-page engraving of "Greenwich Hospital."

London Almanack 1756 – 1 1/8″ x 2 1/4″ – Hand-painted silk covers, the front showing flowers and an insect, the reverse showing a Chinese figure carrying a flag. Hand-painted end papers. Includes a four-page engraving of “Greenwich Hospital.”

Figure 5: London Almanacks.Left:1771. Tooled red leather slipcase with gilt decoration. Includes a fold-out engraving of St. Bartholomew's Hospital. 1 1/8" x 2 1/4"Right: 1752. Shagreen slipcase lined in marbleized paper. Almanack cover in blue moiré silk. Hand-painted end-papers. Includes a four-page engraving of "The Archbishop of Canterbury's Palace at Lambeth." 1 1/8" x 2 1/4"

London Almanacks. Left:1771. Tooled red leather slipcase with gilt decoration. Includes a fold-out engraving of St. Bartholomew’s Hospital. 1 1/8″ x 2 1/4″ Right: 1752. Shagreen slipcase lined in marbleized paper. Almanack cover in blue moiré silk. Hand-painted end-papers. Includes a four-page engraving of “The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Palace at Lambeth.” 1 1/8″ x 2 1/4″

 

 

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