Thursday 29 December 1664

Up and to the office, where we sat all the morning. Then whereas I should have gone and dined with Sir W. Pen (and the rest of the officers at his house), I pretended to dine with my Lady Sandwich and so home, where I dined well, and began to wipe and clean my books in my chamber in order to the settling of my papers and things there thoroughly, and then to the office, where all the afternoon sitting, and in the evening home to supper, and then to my work again.

23 Annotations

First Reading

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

What is Sam going to do when it's his turn to host the holiday dinner?

cgs  •  Link

The month of December has seen Samuell burn the midnight candles at both ends, and for the last 10 days [reading between the lines] have cost him dearly.
The maydes have have not been on his side.
I wonder how many of NAVY office know the facts.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"I pretended to dine with my Lady Sandwich and so home, where I dined well, and began to wipe and clean my books in my chamber in order to the settling of my papers and things there thoroughly"

Making all neat at the year's end outranks the office party for Pepys.

jeannine  •  Link

Odd to me that he doesn't really say why he skipped the party -just to go home and work on his year end record keeping???? (how drab!) I wonder if wives were expected to go to this event and Elizabeth is probably still black and blue. Hmm, just not sure today.

tg  •  Link

Jeannine, you may have "hit upon" a very plausible explanation for Sam's reticence in not attending the officers dinner but my bet is that he really does not enjoy their company and would rather be home polishing his globes and dusting his books then spend time with the Navy Board dolts. I also find it interesting that he categorized his (eventual) 3000 book library by size rather than subject. If I'm not mistaken he arranged his books to be shelved according to the size of the binding. An unusual symmetry to my mind.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"probably still black and blue"
Turning yellowish by now.

Bradford  •  Link

Probably in the age of bespoke bookcases, since adjustable Svedish shelving wasn't available, there was a certain economic logic to his system, coupled with his love of neat formal rigor. Think, nowadays, of the disparity between volumes of Pepys and the tomes of Pevsner not so far apart.

Remember the conclusion of yesterday's entry, when he left the others to holiday merry-making while he went back to solitary book-work, "but without any great satisfaction to myself therein." Perhaps today continues a little self-mortification to take the sharp corners off the year's deviations.

chris  •  Link

Sam's bookcases are indeed bespoke [made by navy carpenters]. You can see them in Cambridge to this day.

The books are arranged by size and the shelves are arranged so that smaller books stand in front of larger ones. An economy of space and resources, most ingenious.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Odd to me that he doesn’t really say why he skipped the party...."

Perhaps he's setting his books in order against the addition to his collection of those he bespoke on 14 December: "to my bookseller’s, and there spoke for several books against New Year’s day, I resolving to lay out about 7l. or 8l., God having given me some profit extraordinary of late;"…

Michael Robinson  •  Link

Spoiler -- Book-cases

The book-cases do not as yet exist.

SP and Thomas Simpson the master-joiner at Deptford and Woolwich "contrived them" on July 23rd. 1666; the first was delivered and put together on August 17st. 1666. They appear to be the first known, and first surviving, examples of a book-case as an independent piece of case furniture.

How SP's books were stored and/or displayed prior is unknown. On July 17th. 1666 SP notes ‘they now growing numerous; and lying one upon another on my chairs, I loose the use, to avoid the trouble of removing them when I would open a book.”

Books that were placed on ‘built in’ shelves earlier in the century were displayed ‘spine in’ with the title written on the fore edge, see the elaborate sculptural tomb of Dean Boys at Canterbury (1625) -- I can not find an illustration on the web. Some examples of C17th study and library interiors are reproduced in Peter Thornton’s ‘Seventeenth- Century Interior Decoration in England, France and Holland’ New Haven: Yale, 1978. pp 303-315. For what it is worth as a general observation and crude summary of a great deal of technical literature; spine lettering (generally in the second compartment) seems to begin to appear as a “standard” on London calf or morocco bindings of printed books circa 1680. (Most but not all earlier examples are C 18th or C 19th. retrospective tooling on earlier bindings. However some binders shops working for some patrons, normally those who had spent time in Paris, were spine titling occasionally by circa 1600)

cgs  •  Link

book-case be differing from bookcase:
that that holds volumes of books OED first be 1776 [strange year]

A case or cupboard for books; a set of bookshelves shut in by doors, glazed or otherwise. ....


1726 in N. & Q. (1942) CLXXXII. 47/1 [A London shop-sign] Desk & Bookcase. James Field, cabinet-maker.
1742 YOUNG Nt. Th. v. 257 This book-case, with dark booty almost burst.

A law case found in the books or on record, a precedent. (Cf. BOOK 5c.)
1552 HULOET s.v. Preiudice..It may be as the ruled cases and matters of the lawe be called bokecases. 1640-4 in Rushw. Hist. Coll. III. (1692) I. 597 Book-Cases and Precedents, which without doubt they would have cited
A case or pair of boards covered with cloth or fancy paper, for binding a volume, or the periodical numbers or parts of a work; also a case for holding unbound serials, music, etc.

Cabinette for books a much later reference 1681
before it be a diminutive cabin that led to the use of cabinet minister:
a little room for things and meetings
and other versions
3. A small chamber or room; a private apartment, a boudoir.
1. One whose business it is to make cabinets (sense 5), and the finer kind of joiner's work.
1681 Trial S. Colledge 59 Mr. Att. Gen. What Trade are you? Mr. Hickman. A Cabinet-maker.

1689 LUTTRELL Brief Rel. (1857) I. 614 One Johnson, a popish cabinet maker.
cabinet, n
I. A little cabin, room, repository. (Senses 1-3 run parallel to those of BOWER 1-3.)


Carl in Boston  •  Link

The bookcases of Samuel Pepys are indeed in Cambridge, and I drool over them still. They have huge rope molding going up the door jambs. They look almost black, have a towering appearance, very plain molded cornice going along the tops,
If you ever go to Florence Italy, get some handmade notebooks at a little shop like Abacus on via de Ginori near the Duomo They are genuine leather and the real thing, made just the way Samuel Pepys would have known. My first two leather diary books are from Smythson's in London. I wanted another from Weis, Weis and Coleman in the upper 80s on Lexington in NYC, but it was too much for me,. They showed me a handmade book of photos taken during the filming of The Age Of Innocence, and the pictures were stunning. It was one extra book from a big order by Martin Scorcese, and it was going for $1500. They have many stories to tell of 16th century bookbinding practice, and also how a lot of business is done in NYC even now. Write your own diary in your book from time to time, maybe once every six months to record the good things that happened. If Pepys can write a diary, we can do it too and in a book covered in genuine Corinthian leather, hand tooled in gold and embossed with raised areas in the Florentine style, with moire fabric endleaves, and a silk ribbon. I say, our descendants will approve of our style.

jeannine  •  Link

“Journal of the Earl of Sandwich” edited by R.C. Anderson

29th. Thursday. I saw the Blazing Star a little above the Whale’s eye, having Right Ascension 33° 00’, Declination North 6° 30’. The stream was towards the Bull’s eye, but neither star nor stream seemed so large as formerly. This was about ¼ after 6 oclock. At 8 distant from Os Baleni 8° 05’, from the 3rd star in Ore Baleni 8° 05’.

This night Sir William Berkeley and his squadron came into the road.

Pedro  •  Link

And from the Carte papers...

William Coventry to Sandwich

Written from: [Whitehall]
Date: 29 December 1664

Shelfmark: MS. Carte 75, fol(s). 297-298

Document type: Holograph

Communicates the Lord Admiral's desire that a convoy should be sent to Havre for a Portuguese vessel laden with wine & a "calash", or chariot, for the Queen's mother. Notifies various particulars as to the manning, command and destination of ships. Mentions the crossing over of the Ambassador of Portugal and the going to Tangier of Lord Bellasis the needful arrangements for which are to be made by Lord Sandwich.

language hat  •  Link

"They appear to be the first known, and first surviving, examples of a book-case as an independent piece of case furniture."

Thanks for that; amazing the things I learn on this site!

Robert Gertz  •  Link

You don't suppose it was simply because it was Penn's dinner? He did attend Batten's and Minnes'.

I can't help thinking this matter with Penn is deeply rooted in Sam's desperate desire to join the 'club' of the elite and secure. Penn hit exactly the nail on the head guaranteed to embitter Pepys, once a friend and I think a close one, against him for life. No amount of friendly behavior can overcome his lomg ago put-down of our boy as a mere clerk and subordinate.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Thanks for the handy link, Tom Carr. If one looks at pic. 112, you can just see one of the handles which were attached to the lower part of the book cases (they are each in two parts) which were used to carry them when Sam moved houses. When I saw these (a long, long time ago) they were in a room without any other furniture, unlike the pictures here linked to: the website doesn't say anything about the other pieces in the room. Anyone know if any of these belonged to Sam also? Or are even 17thc?

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

After the Restoration John, Baron Belasyse of Worlaby was appointed Lord-Lieutenant of the East Riding of Yorkshire (1660–1673) and Governor of Hull (1661-1673), while from 1665 to 1666 he held the posts of Governor of Tangier and Captain-General of the forces in Africa. He was the Catholic son-in-law of John Paulet, 5th Marquis of Winchester. Pepys didn't think much of him.

arby  •  Link

I think this has come up before, C in B of ten years ago, but "Corinthian leather" was invented by an ad agency for Chrysler in the US in the 70s, it doesn't really exist. Unicorn binding might look good though, if the bindery has run out of tanned Corinthians.

Louise Hudson  •  Link

Makes you wonder why Sam and his colleagues didn’t think of bricks and planks of wood to hold books, much beloved by university students today. Bricks and planks must have been easily available in Sam’s day and would have worked as bookcases before he could afford to have bepoke ones made. All it would have taken was to requisition some bricks and planks and use a little ingenuity. Even Sam, who felt above getting his hands dirty with manual labor, could have pulled it off or had his boy do it.

Choosing to skip the dinner with Sir Penn and the officers in order to eat at home and rearrange his papers, I can easily identify with.

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