Constituciones de la Imperial Órden de Guadalupe

Four Beautiful Copper-Engraved Plates

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570. [VIRGIN OF GUADALUPE]. Constituciones de la Imperial Órden de Guadalupe, instituida por la Junta Provisional Gubernativa del Imperio, á propuesta del Serenísimo Señor Generalísimo Almirante Don Agustin de Iturbide, en 18 de febrero de 1822. Mexico: En la oficina de D. Alejandro Valdes, Impresor de Cámara del Imperio, [1822]. [8], 1-25 [1, blank] pp., 4 untitled copperplate engravings of medals and decorations by Manuel C. Araoz after art work by Calvo. Folio (24.8 x 18.5 cm), full contemporary patterned dark green and ochre sheep, spine and edges gilt rolled, contemporary brown patterned endpapers. Spine and upper joint slightly abraded, corners bumped, hinges starting but strong. Interior and plates very fine. With printed ticket of Barcelona bookseller F. Puvill on front pastedown.

     First edition. Andrade 3456. Mathes, Bibliotheca Novohispana Guadalupana, p. 73 (illustrated p. 146). Palau 60138. Sabin 48385. The founding document for the important confraternity organized in honor of the patron saint of Mexico, the Virgin of Guadalupe. Founded by Iturbide’s February 20, 1822, decree, the order was meant to recognize “la consideración debida al verdadero mérito, y acciones magnánimas con que muchos dignos hijos de este suelo se distinguieron con su valor, talento y virtudes cívicas, para conseguir la grande obra de su emancipacion, y cimentar las bases de la felicidad pública....” The forty-seven articles governing the order comprise most of the work, supplemented by the texts of the two decrees that founded it. Three grades were recognized: Caballeros Grandes Cruces, Caballeros de número, and Caballeros supernumerarios. The appropriate medals for each degree are shown in the plates, one of which shows an enlarged detail in a striking illustration of the Virgin. This is one instance wherein one could sincerely hope for contemporary hand coloring, since the actual decorations were enameled, or even possibly jeweled, and are considered in some quarters the most beautiful Mexican decorations ever made, a tradition that continued through its later iterations.

     This is the first manifestation of the Order. After Iturbide’s fall, it was disbanded. Santa-Anna resurrected it in 1853, but it was again disbanded after his disgrace, although he made Iturbide a posthumous member. Finally, it was re-established by Maximilian in 1863, only to be disbanded for the final time upon his execution in 1867. This was the first Mexican honorific order in the country’s history and combined the country’s religious, social, and military aspects into one organization. At its inception it had about five hundred members. For a fuller discussion, see Verónica Zárate Toscano, et al, “Tradición y modernidad: La Órden Imperial de Guadalupe. Su organización y sus rituales” in Historia Mexicana, in Vol. 45, No. 2, Rituales cívicos (October-December, 1995), pp. 191-220.

     Mexican engraver Araoz was active in the early part of the nineteenth century and had some of his work exhibited in Madrid. See Carrillo y Gariel, Grabados de la Colección de la Academia de San Carlos, p. 54; Mathes, La Ilustración en México colonial, p. 153; and Romero de Terreros, Grabados y grabadores en la Nueva España, pp. 471-472, erroneously dating this piece 1882.


Sold. Hammer: $1,700.00; Price Realized: $2,082.50.

Auction 23 Abstracts

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