(London: Printed by R. Nutt, for the Company of Stationers, 1755). 125 x 80 mm. (5 x 3 1/8").  leaves of text.
FINE CONTEMPORARY RED MOROCCO, EXUBERANTLY GILT IN A COTTAGE ROOF DESIGN, large central fleuron of acorn and lancet tools within a lozenge of small tools, this enclosed by an architectural "cottage roof" frame, the whole surrounded by lozenge-and-bead roll border and various bird and floral tools, raised bands, spine gilt in compartments adorned with stars, embossed gilt endpapers by Matheus Maerckli (Mathias Merktl) of Augsburg, all edges gilt. With a woodcut of "Anatomical Man" showing the zodiac signs that govern various body parts. Additional blank sheets of contemporary paper bound before and after text, and one or two blank leaves between each calendar leaf, provided for personal notes. For the binding: Foot, "The Henry Davis Gift" II, 187. A short abrasion along the edge of front board, otherwise AN OUTSTANDING COPY that looks like new inside and out.
Issued annually from 1656 until the early 19th century, "Rider's British Merlin" was the almanac of choice for English gentlemen, and came pocket-sized and handsomely bound, as here. The "Merlin" is believed to be the invention of physician and astrologer Richard Saunders (1613-ca. 1675), who rearranged (most of) the letters of his name to create the anagram "Cardanus Rider." Saunders' professions jibe with the advice offered in the almanac, which notes phases of the moon and important astronomical phenomena, such as eclipses and comets, along with the usual medical, meteorological, and agricultural recommendations, important dates of feasts and festivals, etc. The "Cottage Roof" style takes its name from the oblique elements of the central panel strapwork, which resemble the raked roof of a cottage. The design enjoyed a strong vogue during the early part of the Restoration, when the "Merlin" was first published, and it continued to be used on the company's almanacs into the late 18th century, perhaps an early example of "branding" a product. No notes were made on the several blank pages provided for that purpose here, and our almanac was apparently never used, as it has come down to us in virtually mint condition. (ST15102)
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PJP Catalog: ELIST11.003