Rare British Edition of Linati’s Masterpiece, with Very Fresh Plates

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217. LINATI, Claudio. Costumes et mœurs de Mexique par Linati. Une Collection de Trente Trois Planches. London: Engelmann, Graf Coindet, & Cie, 1830. [68] pp., 33 lithograph plates (including frontispiece) on Whatman paper, original full hand coloring (Mexican costume plates), all plates signed in stone by Linati. 4to (27.5 x 21.5 cm), contemporary polished brown calf Cambridge style, spine with raised bands, a.e.g. (skillfully rebacked, new spine antique style, new marbled endpapers). Original covers scuffed, interior generally excellent except for a few minor spots to plates and on text leaf with light creasing, otherwise a very fine, complete copy with fresh, bright, vibrant coloring. The British edition is more rare in institutional holdings, as well as in commerce.

     First English edition, preceded by an edition printed in Brussels in 1828 (see preceding entry). Both editions are in French, and the English edition has sixteen fewer lithographs. Colas 1873. Hiler, Bibliography of Costume, p. 545. Mathes, Mexico on Stone, pp. 8-14. Palau 138504. Sabin 41143. See preceding entry for full notes on Linati’s plate book.

     The British edition omits sixteen of the plates that appeared in the Brussels edition. There are occasional edits to the text in the 1830 British, such as changing the status of Guadalupe Victoria from president to ex-president of Mexico. The uncolored lithograph title in the Brussels edition was replaced with a letterpress title. The Montezuma portrait is colored in the British edition, and uncolored in the Brussels edition. The omitted sixteen plates seem to have no central theme. All of the portraits of heroes of Independence are retained, as are the Apache plate and the portrait of Filisola.

     Edmundo O’Gorman and Justino Fernández said of Linati’s plate book [translation]:

It contains texts that form a complete view and historical critique of society and customs in Mexico of that period, to such a degree of importance that the lithographs have become a basic means of describing many themes.... Toussaint calls this book, as stated elsewhere, the “first monument to our lithography,” even though it was produced outside of the country; however, there is no doubt that it is the forerunner of so many other similar albums that were later produced in Mexico and inundated Europe. It really may be said, within proportions, that after Humboldt, it was Linati who informed Europeans of the events and circumstances of our country.

(Documentos para la historia de la litografía en México, Estudios y Fuentes del Arte en México I, Mexico: UNAM, 1955, pp. 55-56).

     It is fitting that Engelmann, Graf Coindet, & Cie published this British edition of Linati’s album. Its founder was Godefroy Engelmann (1788-1839), who was born at Mühlhausen on the border of France, Switzerland, and Germany and trained in Switzerland and France. He was early associated with the development and advancement of lithography. In 1814 he travelled to Germany to investigate the new medium and founded La Société Lithotypique de Mulhouse in 1815. He is largely credited with introducing lithography into France and later commercializing chromolithography, for which he was granted an English patent for a process that produced consistently high quality results (1837). His firm produced a tremendous number of prints of artistic quality. The firm began working under the name of Engelmann, Graf Coindet, & Cie in 1826, at 92, Dean Street, Soho. See Elizabeth Robins Pennell & Joseph Pennell, Lithography and Lithographers: Some Chapters in the History of the Art (Macmillan Company, 1915).


Sold. Hammer: $5,000.00; Price Realized: $6,125.00.

Auction 23 Abstracts

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