The Wardington "vade-mecum for English gentlemen"
By SELLER, John , 1678

A Pocket Book containing several Choice Collections in Arithmetick, Navigation, Astronomy, Astrology, Geometry, Geography, Surveying, Measuring, Dialling, Gageing.

Natural History, Science & Medicine
  • Author: SELLER, John
  • Publication place: London:
  • Publisher: Sold by him [John Seller] at the Hermitage in Wapping and at his Shoop in Pope's head Alley in Cornhill
  • Publication date: 1678
  • Physical description: Third edition, early issue, 8vo (140 by 85mm), engraved title and 71 plates and tables (some double-page, 3 with moveable volvelles and including 6 maps), coloured in a contemporary hand, 40pp. text, contemporary calf, Pease crests added in gilt, spine repaired at head and foot
  • Inventory reference: 20161


Seller’s Pocket Book is a vade-mecum for English gentlemen, a compendium of useful information for every occasion, with an impressively wide-ranging series of tables including, among others, monthly almanacs, calendars, lists of the Kings of England and Lord Mayors of London, feast days, tables to calculate Easter and the full moon, tables of astronomy, trigonometry, geometry, weights and measures, and even a table to calculate how many bricks would be needed to make a wall. One of the most uncommon of the plates is a double-page engraving explaining Edward Coleman’s system of cyphers.

Two of the maps are double-page: A Mapp of the World Shewing what a Clock it is (at any time) in any part of the World, and A Traveling Mapp of England. & Dominon of Wales. The world map has an accompanying full-page leaf with rotating overlay, and both seem to have been engraved for use in the Pocket Book.

The single-page maps are of the continents (with the Americas on two sheets, North and South America), each with an accompanying engraved table of the divisions (or countries/regions), first prepared for the Book of Geography, and its later edition the Atlas minimus. These maps were also used in editions of Seller’s pocket atlases, the New Systeme of Geography [1684, and later], and Atlas Terrestris [ca. 1685, and later].

The Pocket Book is famous for its varied collations; it was first published in 1676 or 1677, and re-issued frequently thereafter to about 1707, with some of the composition due to the whim of the purchaser. For this third edition, the engraved title-page has been re-engraved, inserting Seller’s shop address at the Hermitage Stairs in Wapping, with his shop address in Cornhill dateable between 1678 and 1681.

This is an early issue of the third edition, with all but one of the monthly almanac leaves in the first state, and without the double-page engraved plates from the Atlas Coelestis [1680], found in other examples of this edition, but with the double-page plate with a table to calculate the day of the new and full moon re-engraved for the years 1680–1700 (but actually only showing 1680 to 1692), this accomplished simply by engraving over the superfluous left hand columns.


Lord Wardington (1924-2005), bookplate.


  1. cf. Shirley, British Library T.SELL-4a
  2. cf. Wing S2480

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