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Auction 14: Americana

Lots 18 & 19: Saint & Scoundrel

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Exceptionally Beautiful Engraving of the Virgin of Guadalupe

18. carrillo y PÉrez, Ignacio. Pensil Americano florida en el rigor del invierno, la imágen de María Santísima de Guadalupe, aparecida en la Corte de la Septentrional América México, en donde escribia esta Historia Don Ignacio Carrillo y Perez, hijo de esta ciudad y dependiente de su Real Casa de Moneda, año de 1793. Mexico: Por D. Mariano Joseph de Zúñiga y Ontiveros, calle des Espíritu Santo, año de 1797. [16] vi, 132 pp., copper-engraved plate of the Virgin of Guadalupe in a beautiful ornate frame border: N. S. Ð GUADALUPE Ð MEXICO. | La mas semejante a su Original [below image]: Jose Guerrero dib. | Tomas Suria la grav. en Mexico ã d 1790 (image and title measure 17.3 x 10.3 cm; 6-3/4 x 4-1/4 inches). Small 4to, contemporary green and tan mottled sheep, gilt-lettered spine, red-tinted edges, blue and white marbled endpapers. Binding scuffed, remains of old paper labels on spine, a few wormholes, hinges starting, wormholing at some point to nearly every leaf, that at pp. 43-74 costing letters, the others confined generally to blank margins, scattered stains and water spotting. The engraving has some mild foxing and one very small wormhole at lower sector of image. Contemporary ink manuscript errata correction on preliminary (p. [10]). Ink ownership inscription on title page of José Joaquín Cervantes, Pachuca, 6 April 1825. Printed bookplate of José Castillo y Piña on front pastedown. Castillo y Piña (1888-1964) was a priest, scholar, and poet; he was born en Valle de Bravo and studied in Mexico and Rome (Dicc. Porrúa).

    First edition. Beristain I:250. JCB III(2)3853. Mathes, Illustration in Colonial Mexico: Woodcuts and Copper Engravings in New Spain, 1539-1821, Register 8686. Medina, México 8686. Ramirez 179. Sabin 11057. The beautiful plate of the Virgin of Guadalupe was engraved by prominent Mexican engraver Tomás Suria after an image by José Guerrero. After accompanying the scientific expedition of Alejandro Malaspina to the north Pacific coast, Suria rejoined the Academia de San Carlos, where he remained the rest of his life. Author Carrillo (1765-1820), a native of Mexico, wrote this book to provide a fuller account than theretofore available of the history of the Virgin of Guadalupe and her miracles.
    “Our Lady of Guadalupe offers one of history’s outstanding examples of the fusion of religious devotion and national identity. Originating in Mexico in the seventeenth century, the devotion has gained popularity throughout the world. ‘Mexico was born at Tepeyac’ is how this is often phrased. It is based on the story of the appearances of the Virgin Mary to an indigenous neophyte named Juan Diego in which the Virgin directed him to have a church built on the site of the apparitions, the hill of Tepeyac. Since that time the Mexican people have forged an almost mystical relationship with the Virgin morena or Dark Virgin. As one Mexican priest expressed it, ‘Without Guadalupe we would cease to be Mexicans’” (W. Michael Mathes, Bibliotheca Novohispana Guadalupana; Mexico: Centro de Estudios de Historia de México, Condumex, 2003).

Signed by the First Anglo Attorney in Texas

19. CHAMBERS, Thomas Jefferson. Autograph letter signed in full and with paraph, to Major Ira Randolph Lewis, repeatedly requesting that Lewis and he meet to discuss official business and stating that “everything is quiet for the present.” San Felipe [de Austin], August 17, 1835. 1 p. on 4-page 4to folder. Integral address and docket. Remains of red wax seal. Paper very fragile, with some tears and small chips on integral leaf (no losses). Provenance: From a direct descendant of recipient Ira Randolph Lewis.

    Virginian Thomas Jefferson Chambers (1802-1865) was the first Anglo attorney licensed to practice law in Texas. Chambers was certified as a surveyor and named surveyor general of Texas in 1829. He enjoyed the animating pursuit of speculation, and promptly engaged in a somewhat shady real estate venture involving acquisition of the eleven-league Padilla grant. He was granted an empresarioship and received his license to practice law in 1834 (the only foreigner granted that right). He instituted good changes in jury law and was named chief justice, collecting his salary in land. During the Anahuac disturbances, Chambers, with ties to the Mexican government and his own investments possibly imperiled, tried to stop the Anglo rebels but was swiftly hanged in effigy in Brazoria. He was accused of being a Tory and later denounced by the General Council. When the winds of war seemed to be blowing favorably in the direction of the Texans, Chambers lined up with the Texian rebels but declined military service, choosing instead to go to the United States to recruit volunteers and raise money for the cause. After the war he submitted an exaggerated claim of monies spent and services performed. There being no money in the Republic coffers anyway, Chambers cheerfully accepted yet more Texas land.
    Chambers became a founding member of the Texas Philosophical Society in 1837. He retired to Anahuac in 1838 and tried unsuccessfully to change the name of the town to Chambersia, thus irritating his neighbors. He then sold some of his lands to go to the U.S. to raise money for his land ventures but returned to discover his property had been sold to his neighbor John O’Brian for back taxes. The local court decided against Chambers’s claim, and Chambers promptly ambushed and murdered O’Brian in cold blood. That is probably enough to give a general idea of Texas’s first Anglo attorney, although his attempt to have John B. Magruder fired from the job of protecting the Texas coast during the Civil war is not without piquancy. On the night of March 15, 1865, with the Chambers clan gathered in an upstairs parlor, an assassin fired a shotgun through the open window and killed Chambers. For more on Chambers see Handbook of Texas Online (Thomas Jefferson Chambers). For more on recipient Ira Randolph Lewis, see item 52 herein.

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