1836 · London
A delightful contradiction: a "practical" almanac, in a wildly impractical, less than thumbnail-size presentation. In addition to its calendrical information, this miniature gem of a volume features seven engraved portraits, each of which is accompanied by poetry from Letitia Elizabeth Landon ("L.E.L."). => At the back are four pages of sheet music — surely impossible to play from! — for the Rondo from Balfe's "Maid of Artois." The book's extreme tininess led one contemporary reviewer to conclude that it had been provided by "the Bookseller to all the faeries" (Gentleman's Magazine, Feb. 1837).
This is a copy of the second English Bijou Almanac. Schloss's series of miniature almanacs, often given as => gift books, began with the one for 1836 (published in 1835) and ended with that for 1843. Those for 1836–38 did not bear Schloss's name in the title, that was added beginning with the almanac for 1839. "Schloss engaged Benjamin Reese Davies, a specialist in engraved script . . . to engrave the . . . series. His skill and consistency are apparent in both the text and portraits on steel plates" (Bromer & Edison, p. 95). Once the engraving was accomplished the work was transferred to a lithographic stone for actual printing, the whole process being called "transfer lithography" (Bain, p. 8)
Binding: Orchid-colored paper, wrappers with gilt-stamped lyre and wreath motif, all edges gilt. Volume housed in a velvet- and silk-lined tan morocco clamshell case with "Bijou" gilt-stamped on its front within a strapwork frame; case with a hook and eye closing mechanism, still intact and working.
Welsh 2656; Spielmann 140; Bromer & Edison, Miniature Books, 94–97, and 100. On the printing via transfer lithography, see: Iain Bain, Albert Schloss's bijou almanacs (London, 1969). Bound as above, covers rubbed, slipcase slightly worn with title faded and small scuff at the clasp where the hook opens; almanac perhaps once within a paper slipcase within the leather one. Pages very slightly age-toned, otherwise clean. => Impossibly petite, and marvelously pleasing. (Inventory #: 36968)