In an Attractive Contemporary Binding with Original Metal Stylus

ALMANACS. BINDINGS. Rider, Cardanus, pseud. [?Saunders, Richard (1613-1675)]

Rider’s British merlin: for the year of Our Lord God 1778. Being the second after bissextile or leap-year. Adorned with many delightful and useful verities, fitting all capacities in the islands of Great Britain’s Monarchy. With notes of husbandry, fairs, marts, high roads, and tables for many necessary uses. Compiled for his country’s benefit, by Cardanus Rider.

London: Printed for the Company of Stationers, and sold by G. Hawkins, 1778


Duodecimo: 12.8 x 8 cm. A-B12, C6. First signature interleaved with blanks.

A beautiful copy of this rare almanac, bound in a superb binding, elaborately decorated in gold, with the original stylus and decorative paste-paper pastedowns. There are two folding pockets inside the front and rear boards, additional blank leaves, and a pair of waxed sheets (for use with the stylus). The text is crisp and bright. With the original 2-pence tax stamp on the title. Signature A is printed in red and black. A woodcut of the "zodiacal man", his body surrounded by the signs of the Zodiac, appears in the second part. 

Provenance: With 18th and early 19th c. annotations to several of the blank leaves, recording births and deaths of several persons, including Mary Price, and detailing the provenance from 1780 to 1804: 1. "James Edward Oliver, 2. "Mary Price" (d. 1804), signature dated 1793, 3. Bequeathed by her to her godson Henry Whitcomb, 4. Rev.d Whitcomb "his brother", 1804. On one leaf are words of moral encouragement "Take honour for thy guide and on just Heaven place thy reliance", etc. Another leaf records expenditures, with prices for such items as shoestrings and French and German dictionaries.

"Rider's" almanac first appeared in 1656, "compiled for the benefit of his country" by "Schardanus Riders", believed to be a pseudonym for the medical practitioner and astrologer Richard Saunders (1613-1675). The almanac continued to be published by the Stationers' Company long after its author's death. This edition is rare. There are 2 copies in North America (Huntington, Bryn Mawr).

Literature: E. Howe, ‘The Stationers’ Company almanacks: a late eighteenth-century printing and publishing operation’, Buch und Buchhandel in Europa im achtzehnten Jahrhundert  / The book and the book trade in eighteenth-century Europe [Wolfenbüttel 1977], ed. G. Barber and B. Fabian (1981), 195–209 · DNB·  B. S. Capp, Astrology and the popular press: English almanacs, 1500–1800 (1979)

ESTC T45018