AUCTION 23

 

Bullock in Original Boards, Untrimmed

Early Aquatints of Mexican Scenes

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59. BULLOCK, William, Jr. (artist). Six Months’ Residence and Travels in Mexico; Containing Remarks of the Present State of New Spain, Its Natural Productions, State of Society, Manufactures, Trade, Agriculture, and Antiquities, &c. With Plates and Maps. London: John Murray, 1824. [v] vi-xii, [1] 2-532, [4, ads] pp. (pp. 83-86 and 163-164 are not cancels, as in some copies), 16 aquatint plates (folded frontispiece, and 4 colored costume plates); 2 engraved folded maps; folded typographical statistical chart (see map and plate list following). 8vo (23.1 x 15 cm), original tan paper over drab blue boards, printed paper spine label, untrimmed, as issued. Upper joint partially split, slight offsetting from some plates (including title), otherwise a superb copy in original condition.

Maps & Chart

Ancient Mexico. From the Original Map made by order of Montezuma for Cortez. Brought to England in 1823, by Mr. Bullock [below neat line] Published as the Act directs May 1824, by John Murray Albemarle Street London. J. Walker Sculpt. Neat line to neat line: 42 x 30.2 cm; overall sheet size: 42.8 x 33.8 cm. Mapoteca colombiana (Mejico), p. 41, #67. Orozco y Berra, Materiales para una cartografía mexicana, pp. 258-259.

A Plan of the City of Mexico, By Lt. Coll. Count Don Diego Garcia, A.D. 1793 [below neat line] Published as the Act directs May 1824, by John Murray Albemarle Street London. J. Walker Sculpt. Neat line to neat line: 31.2 x 34.7 cm; overall sheet size: 34.8 x 37.8 cm. Mapoteca colombiana (Mejico), p. 41, #68. See García Conde in map section of this catalogue for first edition.

Geographical Tables of the common Leagues of distance of Cities and Towns of the Empire of Mexico....

Plate List

All measurements are line border to line border.

View of the City and Valley of Mexico, from Tacubaya [inside neat line] Drawn on the Spot by W. Bullock, Junr. Published by I. Murray, London, 1824. I. Clark sc. 14.5 x 37.5 cm.

North Side Of Varacruz, from the Castle of San Juan De Ulua [inside neat line] Drawn on the Spot by W. Bullock Junr., 1823. Published by I. Murray, London, 1824. I. Clark sc. 11 x 19 cm.

South Side of Varacruz, from the Castle of San Juan De Ulua [inside neat line] Drawn on the Spot by W. Bullock Junr., 1823. 11 x 19 cm.

West Side of Xalapa, with the Mountain Perote [inside neat line] Drawn on the Spot by W. Bullock Junr. Published by I. Murray, London, 1824. I. Clark sc. 11 x 18.6 cm.

East Side of Xalapa [inside neat line] Drawn on the Spot by W. Bullock Junr. Published by I. Murray, London, 1824. I. Clark sc. 11 x 18.8 cm.

Superior Indians in their Holiday Dress [below neat line] Published by I. Murray, London, 1824. I. Clark sculpt. 15.7 x 10.5 cm. Hand colored.

Northern Extremity of Puebla De Los Angelos [inside neat line] Drawn on the Spot by W. Bullock Junr, 1823. Published by I. Murray, London, 1824. I. Clark sc. 11 x 19 cm.

Southern Extremity of Puebla De Los Angelos, from the S.E. [inside neat line] Drawn on the Spot by W. Bullock Junr, 1823. Published by I. Murray, London, 1824. I. Clark sc. 11 x 19 cm.

Gate on the Canal of Chalco, Mexico [inside neat line] Drawn on the Spot by W. Bullock Junr. Published by I. Murray, London, 1824. I. Clark sc. 11.3 x 18.4 cm.

Mexican Indians going to Market [below neat line] Published by I. Murray, London, 1824. I. Clark sculpt. 15.7 x 10.5 cm. Hand colored.

Mexican Indians returning from Market [below neat line] Published by I. Murray, London, 1824. I. Clark sculpt. 15.7 x 10.5 cm. Hand colored.

Mexican Gentlemen. [below neat line] Published by I. Murray, London, 1824. I. Clark sculpt. 15.7 x 10.5 cm. Hand colored. Excellent depiction of horses and equipage.

Ancient Mexican Sculpture. Plate 1 [below neat line] Published by I. Murray, London, 1824. I. Clark sc. 10.5 x 15.5 cm.

Ancient Mexican Sculpture. Plate 2 [below neat line] Published by I. Murray, London, 1824. I. Clark sc. 10.5 x 15.5 cm.

Pyramid of the Sun, or of San De Teotihuacan [inside neat line] Drawn on the Spot by W. Bullock Junr. Published by I. Murray, London, 1824. I. Clark sc. 11 x 18.5 cm.

The Volcanic Mountain of Popocatepetl. 17875 Feet in height. [inside neat line] Drawn on the Spot by W. Bullock, Junr, Published by I. Murray, London, 1824. I. Clark sc. 11.1 x 18.8 cm.

     First edition of “perhaps the most interesting of the...books dealing with America” (Prideaux, Aquatint Engraving, p. 256). Abbey 666. Bauer Sale 43. Braislin Sale 261. Church 1326. Economic Literature of Latin America: A Tentative Bibliography 1285. Glass, p. 568. Griffin 3557. Gunn, Mexico in American and British Letters 632. Hill I, p. 39. Hill II #214. Larned 3933. Littell Sale 115. McNeil, Europeans in Latin America 60. Palau 37059. Sabin 9140. Streeter Sale 210. M.P. Costeloe, "William Bullock and the Mexican Connection" in Mexican Studies, Vol. 22, No. 2, Summer 2006, p. 284: “The book was an immediate success, with all 1,500 copies of the first edition—double the usual 750—taken up by booksellers on the first day, and further editions promptly issued in 1825. The work gave a glowing picture not only of Mexico as a country for tourists, but also as a place of unrivaled opportunities for commerce and investment.”

     Despite the importance and seriousness of his informative book, Bullock (ca. 1773-1849; DNB VII, p. 256) was something of a showman, an aspect of his personality present in this work. Before he arrived in Mexico in 1823, he had a reputation in England as an exhibitor of curiosities and antiquities, the viewing of which was popular at the time. (See Oettermann, The Panorama: History of a Mass Medium, pp. 127-132.) Although part of the motivation for his trip to Mexico seems to have been genuine curiosity, he was moved just as surely by the desire to collect antiquities and other such materials for a planned exhibition of them in Egyptian Hall. To promote the sales of his work, he declared that aside from his book, he was “acquainted with no book of travels by an Englishman to [Mexico] since the period of Charles I.” Sabin, apparently believing this claim, states that Bullock was the first such traveller since Thomas Gage, choosing to ignore the visits of such travellers as James Cook, John Philips, Pascoe Thomas, and George Vancouver, all of whom visited Mexico and left printed accounts.

     Whatever Bullock’s motivations, he managed to work his way into the good graces of numerous Mexican officials. He was quickly given possession of a silver mine and managed to separate the country from any number of artifacts, which he exhibited in London after his return. (Some of this material was eventually returned to Mexico.) He was particularly taken with Mexico City and described the city in the most glowing terms, stating that when he arrived near the center of the city, “I felt repaid for all the dangers and troubles I had undergone” (p. 124). His observations about the country were, indeed, the most contemporary to be had at the time, and the book was quickly translated into Dutch, German, and French. The considerable care he lavished on the illustrative materials in the book, mostly based on his own drawings, has been repaid by posterity, which values them as beautiful and accurate depictions of Mexican life at the time.

     The handsome aquatint plates in this book make it not only important for nineteenth-century Mexican iconography, but also for plate books in general. The Plan of the City of Mexico was based on the celebrated map of Mexico City by Diego García Conde (1760-1822), a native of Barcelona, who came to Mexico and served as captain of the Spanish Dragoons in Mexico and supervised construction of the road from Veracruz to Jalapa. Dicc. Porrúa (p. 1156) specifically mentions García Conde’s map as a great achievement (“Su nombre está ligado a la historia de la cd. de México, por el magnífico plano que levantó de metrópoli in 1793”). The original map, engraved in Mexico in 1807, is almost impossible to obtain because of its rarity and format (147.6 x 197.6 cm). García Conde’s map, as found in Bullock’s book, is an alternative for acquiring an early version of the greatest nineteenth-century map of Mexico City.

($750-1,500)

Auction 23 Abstracts

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