Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. The History and Adventures of the Renowned Don Quixote. London: Printed for A. Millar, over against Catherine-Street, 1755.

    First edition of the important Smollett translation of Don Quixote, with all twenty-eight copper-engraved illustrations by Francis Hayman, "the most proficient English illustrator of his time." Two thick quarto volumes.

    Contemporary full mottled calf, expertly rebacked to style, spines with gilt compartments and lettering labels. Rubbing to corners of contemporary calf; crack to foot of spine of Volume I. Some scattered browning, but, overall, interior is generally very clean, with only light offsetting from plates to text. Armorial bookplate. Both volumes very good.

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    "Tobias Smollett's translation of Don Quixote for the 1755 edition contributed much to the reappraisal later in the century of Cervantes as a patriot, a soldier, and a model of chivalry himself" (Harthan, 153). "It is historically important, for it is one of the principal versions in which Cervantes' novel was known to several generations of English and American readers" (Thomas Hart). "Hayman was the most proficient English illustrator of his time, and this is his best book" (Ray, 5). The illustrations are "a surprisingly original series. Without downplaying Quixote and Sancho Panza, they bring to life individuals in the large supporting cast who have been totally ignored by other illustrators" (Hodnett, 76-80). A very good copy of a landmark in book illustration.

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    Auction Dates
    June, 2009
    16th-17th Tuesday-Wednesday
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