“CLOSE IN SPIRIT TO THE ORIGINAL”: 1742 FIRST JARVIS TRANSLATION OF DON QUIXOTE, WITH 69 FINE COPPERPLATE ENGRAVINGS
CERVANTES SAAVEDRA, Miguel de. The Life and Exploits of the Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote de La Mancha. Translated from the Original Spanish… by Charles Jarvis. London: for J. and R. Tonson and R. Dodsley, 1742. Two volumes. Quarto, contemporary full dark brown calf gilt rebacked with original elaborately gilt-decorated spines neatly laid down, raised bands, marbled endpapers and edges. $7000.
First edition of Jarvis’ famous translation, with engraved portrait of Cervantes and 68 fine full-page copperplate engravings after John Vanderbank—“undoubtedly one of the noblest sets of engravings ever executed for Don Quixote.”
Jarvis’ translation, one of the earliest, is also regarded as one of the best. “Published posthumously in 1742 and frequently reprinted, it is generally acknowledged as being close in spirit to the original” (Oxford DNB). With a prefatory history of chivalry and romance by Warburton, a note on the illustrations and a life of Cervantes. “Finely printed… one of the most notable editions published to that time” (Río y Rico). “Undoubtedly one of the noblest sets of engravings ever executed for Don Quixote; Cohen calls them ‘belles figures” (Ashbee). Text embellished with engraved headpieces, tailpieces and initials. Río y Rico 449. Ashbee, An Iconography of Don Quixote 39. Two engraved armorial bookplates, early owner signatures and inscriptions.
A few plates trimmed a little closely along upper edge, just touching the border of seven plates; plate 56 (Volume II, page 318) with marginal tear at lower corner, not affecting caption or image. Plates clear and fine, impressions dark. Original bindings quite lovely. A very handsome copy of this richly illustrated Quixote, most desirable in contemporary calf-gilt.