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AUCTION 22

 

Pompeii Viewed through the Lens of Master Mexican Lithographer Iriarte


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566.     ZAMACOIS, Niceto de. La destrucción de Pompeya. Obra escrita por Niceto de Zamacois. Mexico: Imprenta de Ignacio Cumplido, Calle de los Rebeldes Número 2, 1871. Vol. I: [4], [i] ii-v [1, blank], [1] 2-248 pp., 12 lithograph plates (including frontispiece portrait of author); Vol. II: [1-3] 4-464, [2] pp., 26 lithograph plates. Total 38 lithograph plates of views and archaeological scenes by Iriarte after the original artwork of Ramón Rodríguez y Arangoiti (4 full-color, including half title to Vol. I; remainder on tinted grounds in various shades of green and sepia). Lacking plan of Pompeii. Small folio (27.8 x 19.8 cm), original contemporary black Mexican sheep over green and black marbled boards, spine lettered and decorated in gilt. Binding moderately rubbed and edge worn, corners bumped and rounded, Vol. I hinges open but holding, Vol. II with new endpapers, text fine except for occasional light browning, offsetting, and scattered ink spots. Pp. 339-342 in Vol. II bound in upside down; plates have light scattered foxing and spotting but are generally very good. Contemporary ink signature on Vol. II title: Licentiate E. Firado. Small oval blind stamp of Licentiate Miguel Blanca on both title pages. A very unusual Mexican book. Muy raro.

     First edition. Palau 378907. Mathes, Mexico on Stone, pp. 63 (Iriarte & Cumplido); Chapters 3 & 4 (Cumplido), but not mentioning this title. Not mentioned by Toussaint. The unusual lithographs by Iriarte are remarkable; many employ rich chiaroscuro, conveying a somber sense of the vanished splendor of Pompeian civilization. Hesiquio Iriarte (ca. 1820-1897) was arguably the finest lithographer in nineteenth-century Mexico. His earliest major productions were the numerous plates in the extraordinary four-volume El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha (Mexico: Ignacio Cumplido, 1842) and the lithographs in El Gallo Pitagórico (Mexico: Ignacio Cumplido, 1845). He also produced excellent plates for Apuntes históricos de la heróica ciudad de Vera-Cruz (Mexico: Ignacio Cumplido, 1850), with a remarkable portrait of Fernando Cortés; Los Mexicanos pintados por sí mismos (Mexico: M. Murguía, 1854-1855); Los Conventos Suprimidos de México (Mexico: J.M. Aguilar y Compañía, 1861; see Item 483 herein); and De Miramar a México (Orizaba: J. Bernardo Aburto, 1864), with an outstanding portrait of Maximilian. He probably executed all of the lithographs published in the monumental satirical periodical La Orquesta (1860s & 1870s). Spanning a half-century, the role of Iriarte in Mexican lithography cannot be overstated. The present work is one of the most difficult of his works to obtain.

     Spanish-born author Zamacois (1820-1885) immigrated to Mexico at an early age, but he spent his time both in Mexico and Spain depending on circumstances. He wrote novels, historical works, and poetry. Although this work was apparently inspired by Edward George Earle Bulwer Lytton’s The Last Days of Pompeii (London, 1835), of which Zamacois was aware and which he discusses in his introduction, it is not (as Dicc. Porrúa states) a translation of Bulwer Lytton’s novel. Rather, it is an original work of fiction that attempts to more vividly recreate daily life in Pompeii based on archaeological discoveries that had been made since The Last Days of Pompeii was published in 1835.

($250-500)

Sold. Hammer: $250.00; Price Realized: $300.00

Auction 22 Abstracts

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