In the 18th century, such was the success enjoyed by publications of annual almanacs that various formats were created, including the Étrennes Mignones. It was characterised by its tiny dimensions, which did not prevent it from presenting countless trivial information that was nevertheless considered useful or even intriguing for the delight of its readers.
This example, a volume prepared for the year 1782, contains two maps, astronomical and astrological information related to the months of the year and the corresponding signs, moveable feast days, forecasts of eclipses and the beginning of the seasons. It also includes facts about the states, kingdoms and republics of Europe, with details of the births of princes and princesses, the structure of the government and military in France, the opening hours of public institutions such as libraries, and, finally, information on fairs and centenaries as well as anecdotes and curiosities.
Among all of this news is the proclamation of the birth on 22 October 1781 of Louis Joseph, the son of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, and his baptism on the same day. It was this event that provided the theme for the decoration of the cover of the red morocco-leather binding, which was created by the bookbinder Jean-Baptiste Gosselin.
Kermaingant Library (ex-libris). Acquired by Calouste Gulbenkian from F. Lefrançois, Paris, 14 February 1925 (lot 35).
H. 9.8 cm; W. 6 cm
Léon Gruel, Manuel Historique et Bibliographique de l’Amateur de Reliures, Paris, 1887-1905, p.107
Roger Devauchelle, La Reliure en France de ses Origines à nos Jours, Paris, 1959-1961, vol. II, p. 236
Yves Devaux, Histoire du Livre, de la Reliure et du Métier de Relieur au Fil des Siècles. Paris: 1983, p. 57.
Antoine Coron (dir.), Des Livres rares depuis l’invention de l’imprimerie. Paris: 1998, p. 189.
Aires Augusto Nascimento (coord.), The Image of Time. European Manuscript Books, exhibition catalogue. Lisboa: Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, 2000, p. 63, no. 17.
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