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Lithos of the Convents of Mexico, with a Portrait of the Father of Texas Missions

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483.     RAMÍREZ APARICIO, Manuel. Los Conventos suprimidos en Méjico. Estudios biográficos, históricos y arqueológicos por D. Manuel Ramírez Aparicio…. Aguilar Iriarte, Editors. Mexico: Imprenta y Librería de J.M. Aguilar y Ca., primera calle de Santo Domingo no. 5, 1861 [pictorial frontispiece dated 1862]. [2, lithograph title page], [i-v] vi-viii, [9] 10-525 [5] pp. (pages 417-418 erroneously numbered 419 and 420), 33 lithograph plates (including decorated title page lithographed in green, blue, and gold; other plates on maize toned grounds: portraits, architecture), most signed: Litog de Iriarte y Ca. 8vo (22 x 16 cm), contemporary three-quarter dark green sheep over dark green paper-covered boards, spine with raised bands and decorated and lettered in gilt, sprinkled edges, blue and red marbled endpapers. Spine and boards moderately rubbed (lower board scraped), light shelf wear, corners bumped, plates with light to moderate foxing, right neat line shaved on plate at p. 115 (no loss of image), otherwise a very good, complete copy of a book difficult to find complete with all the lithos and front and back matter. Two clippings from booksellers’ catalogues pasted to front free endpaper, one of which has offset to the adjacent fly leaf.

     First edition of a classic illustrated work on monasticism and the religious orders of Mexico. “Fin de la primera parte” on p. 509, but no more published. Bibliotheca Mejicana 2071 (suggesting the work was not continued due to the author’s death). Mathes, Mexico on Stone, pp. 30: “Although the text was not of the highest typographic quality, the lithographs in Los Conventos Suprimidos en Méjico by Iriarte brought fame to J.M. Aguilar y Compañia (11 Calle de Santo Domingo 5)”; 58 (checklist); 63 (Aguilar); 64 (Iriarte). Palau 246647. Sabin 67657.

     This is a history of the suppressed convents of Mexico, including biographical information on significant persons associated with each convent. Portraits include the most famous missionary to serve in Texas—sometimes referred to as the Father of Texas missions—Father Antonio Margil de Jesús (1657-1726; Handbook of Texas). Margil’s portrait appears between pp. 328-329: Fr. Antonio Margil [below line border at left] Litog. de Iriarte y Ca.; image & border: 18.5 x 12.5 cm; image, border, text & imprint: 19.2 x 12.5 cm. Other portraits include Sebastian de Aparicio, Pedro de Gante, and Domingo de Vetanzos.

     The work emphasizes convents in the Mexico City region, although the Franciscan missions of New Mexico are discussed between pp. 281-284, followed by La Paz. The excellent lithographs of architecture by master lithographer-artist Hesiquio Iriarte (1820-1897) provide him the springboard to exhibit his consummate skill in rendering perspective. Illustrations include exteriors, grounds, gardens and patios, contextual views of the structures in landscape or from the street, interiors (one shows a library), balconies, and furnishings. The plates are valuable documentation for architectural history, costume history, and material culture. As usual, highly skilled Iriarte is the devil on details. Many of the plates include worshippers, church personnel, and bystanders, adding humanity to the images and recording life within these magnificent structures. Regrettably, some of these glorious edifices were later destroyed, adding more documentary value to the present images. One image shows the ruins of one of the convents.

     The works of author-journalist Manuel Ramírez Aparicio (1831-1867) were published in 1908 (with biographical notes). Modern editions of the present work came out in 1975, 1979, and 1982. The histories and anecdotes on each convent provide insights into women’s history and the education of women in colonial and nineteenth-century Mexico.


Sold. Hammer: $4,600.00; Price Realized: $5,520.00

Auction 22 Abstracts

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