SMOLLETT’S IMPORTANT TRANSLATION OF DON QUIXOTE, 1755 FIRST EDITION, ILLUSTRATED BY FRANCIS HAYMAN, THIS COPY LAVISHLY EXTRA-ILLUSTRATED WITH THE FULL SUITES OF PLATES BY VANDERBANK, COYPEL AND HOGARTH—THE DANIEL COPY
CERVANTES SAAVEDRA, Miguel de. The History and Adventures of the Renowned Don Quixote. London: A. Millar, T. Osborn, et al., 1755. Two volumes. Quarto, period-style full red morocco gilt, raised bands, all edges gilt. $12,800.
First edition of the important Smollett translation of Don Quixote, an excellent extra-illustrated copy that contains the original 28 fine copper-engraved illustrations by Francis Hayman, "the most proficient English illustrator of his time," as well as Kent's portrait of Cervantes engraved by Vertue, the full suite of 68 plates after Vanderbank that accompanied the 1742 Jarvis translation, the full suite of 31 plates after Coypel and others that accompanied the 1746 French edition, and the six "rejected" plates designed and engraved by William Hogarth. The copy of renowned author, poet, financier and bibliophile George Daniel, with his ownership signature on the front flyleaf, along with a catalogue entry from the 1864 sale of his library.
"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). Its illustrator, Francis 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).
The 68 illustrations engraved by Vandergucht after Vanderbank for the first edition of Jarvis' 1742 English translation have been described as "undoubtedly one of the noblest sets of engravings ever executed for Don Quixote; Cohen calls them 'belles figures'" (Ashbee). The full suite of the 31 Coypel illustrations—here window-mounted—are also much prized: "It is not too much to say that the pictorial tradition associated with Cervantes' masterpiece owes as much to Coypel as to any other artist… He offers a comic Don Quixote, his emphasis being on the farcical episodes of the novel and the ludicrous aspects of its characters" (Ray). The six "rejected" William Hogarth plates were executed circa 1737-38 to accompany Lord Carteret's Spanish-language edition published by Tonson, but the publisher opted instead to use the Vanderbank plates included here. (A seventh plate, engraved a few years prior to the other six and in horizontal orientation rather than vertical, is sometimes added to these "rejected" plates, but is not present here.) The six window-mounted plates gathered here are rich impressions. Ray, The Illustrator and the Book in England, 5. Ray, The Art of the French Illustrated Book 3. Harthan, The History of the Illustrated Book, 153. Ashbee, An Iconography of Don Quixote 39. Lowndes, 401. Ownership inscription on the front flyleaf: "George Daniel, Canonbury, July 15th, 1855." Daniel (1789-1864), of Heguenot descent, was an author, poet, financier, and renowned bibliophile, who notably possessed all four of the 17th-century Shakespeare folio editions. Affixed to the same leaf is the printed catalogue description of these volumes from the sale of his library in 1864. Later ownership and gift inscriptions to front free endpapers.
Only occasional foxing, chiefly marginal. A beautifully bound, lavishly extra-illustrated copy with distinguished provenance.