Madrid: Joaquín Ibarra, 1780. 4 volumes, large 4to (301 x 223 mm). Four engraved frontispieces, folding map, portrait and 31 engraved plates after A. Carnicero, J. del Castillo, J. Brunete, B. Barranco, P. Arnal, G. Gil and G. Ferro. Contemporary Spanish calf, stained green calf panels on the sides, within gilt-tooled borders, spines in seven compartments with six raised bands, git-lettered in two, an ornate floral gilt panel in the remaining, all edges gilt. Provenance: Ricardo Olivera (inkstamps on titles and some interior text leaves). Bindings with some light wear at extremities, a few areas n sides peeled, some occasional pale foxing, but generally a very well-preserved set in a contemporary Spanish binding. Item #406862
The greatest illustrated edition of Don Quixote ever published, by the finest Spanish printer of the late eighteenth century. Joaquín Ibarra employed the best illustrators and engravers, including Del Castillo, Brunete, and Carnicero, and combined their superlative images with exquisite typographic work, resulting in one of the finest illustrated books produced anywhere in Europe at the time.
"In 1780 the Royal Spanish Academy created a national treasure when it commissioned Joaquin Ibarra to print a deluxe edition of Don Quixote. Regarded as one of the most magnificent books of its kind, the Academy edition includes lavish engravings, careful editorial emendations to the text, a biography of Cervantes, and the first map to chart Quixote's itinerary. The most influential work of literature from the Spanish Golden Age, Don Quixote remained a cornerstone of the artistic imagination 175 years after its initial publication" ('Visions & Nightmares: Four Centuries of Spanish Drawings,' curated by Edward Payne, The Morgan Librtary & Museum, 2014). Palau also rightly preferred this edition of all thus far published, in any language. The type was specially designed for the book, and the text follows the 1605 first edition. Palau 52024 ("Magnifica edicion y superior en belleza artistica a todas las que hasta entonces se habian hecho en Espana y en el extranjero"); Cohen-De Ricci 218-19 ("Magnifique édition comme typographie et comme ornamentation"). See John Hartman, 'The History of the Illustrated Book,' p. 161.