Item #2638 [BOUND BY SANTIAGO MARTIN SANZ, MADRID]. Historia de la conquista de Mexico, poblacion y progressos de la America septentrional, conocida por el nombre de Nueva España. Antonio de Solis y. Ribadeneyra.
[BOUND BY SANTIAGO MARTIN SANZ, MADRID]. Historia de la conquista de Mexico, poblacion y progressos de la America septentrional, conocida por el nombre de Nueva España
[BOUND BY SANTIAGO MARTIN SANZ, MADRID]. Historia de la conquista de Mexico, poblacion y progressos de la America septentrional, conocida por el nombre de Nueva España
[BOUND BY SANTIAGO MARTIN SANZ, MADRID]. Historia de la conquista de Mexico, poblacion y progressos de la America septentrional, conocida por el nombre de Nueva España
[BOUND BY SANTIAGO MARTIN SANZ, MADRID]. Historia de la conquista de Mexico, poblacion y progressos de la America septentrional, conocida por el nombre de Nueva España
[BOUND BY SANTIAGO MARTIN SANZ, MADRID]. Historia de la conquista de Mexico, poblacion y progressos de la America septentrional, conocida por el nombre de Nueva España
[BOUND BY SANTIAGO MARTIN SANZ, MADRID]. Historia de la conquista de Mexico, poblacion y progressos de la America septentrional, conocida por el nombre de Nueva España
[BOUND BY SANTIAGO MARTIN SANZ, MADRID]. Historia de la conquista de Mexico, poblacion y progressos de la America septentrional, conocida por el nombre de Nueva España
[BOUND BY SANTIAGO MARTIN SANZ, MADRID]. Historia de la conquista de Mexico, poblacion y progressos de la America septentrional, conocida por el nombre de Nueva España
Gorgeous copy in a contemporary Madrid binding by Santiago Martin Sanz

[BOUND BY SANTIAGO MARTIN SANZ, MADRID]. Historia de la conquista de Mexico, poblacion y progressos de la America septentrional, conocida por el nombre de Nueva España

Madrid: Antonio de Sancha, 1783-1784. 2 vols., quarto (255 x 200 mm). L (i.e. 50) pp. + [8] pp. (Subscribers), 489 pp.; [4], viii, 460 pp. Illustrated with 2 engraved portraits (one of Cortes, the other of the author) + 24 full-page engraved plates after designs by Titian (sic), Josef Ximeno, Ildefonso Vergaz, and Juan Moreno Tejada y Arnal, many of which were engraved by Ferdin Selma. With 2 folding maps (one in each volume): "Mapa geográfico de una parte de Nueva España" and "Mapa de las lagunas, ríos y lugares que circundan a México." Fine engraved head- and tailpiece vignettes. Both half-titles present. Our copy is lacking the 3-page list of Subscribers in vol. II that was bound at the end of some, but certainly not all, copies. Near contemporary Madrid binding by Santiago Martin Sanz: smooth calf treated to resemble blue marbling, Neo-Classical palmette boarder gilt around sides, smooth spine decorated with multiple impressions of a single gilt roll, two red morocco labels on each volume, the author and title in the first, and in the second the volume number within a gilt shield, marbled pastedowns and endpapers, sprinkled red edges. Near fine condition: faint foxing to the outer margins of plates (not objectionable), the paper stock white and crisp, small paper flaw in the blank margin of vol. II, p. 3; the bindings with trifle abraisons in some places, epidermal scraping on front cover of vol. II (the marbling unaffected). A superb copy, completely unsophisticated, preserved in black cloth protective cases. Near Fine. Item #2638

THE MOST DESIRABLE OBTAINABLE COPY EXTANT OF THE FINEST ILLUSTRATED EDITION OF THE "HISTORY OF THE CONQUEST OF MEXICO."

Our copy was bound by Santiago Martin Sanz (1780-1828), bookbinder to TWO Kings of Spain, namely Carlo V (r. 1788-1808) and his son Fernando VII (r. 1808 and 1813-1833). He also received commissions from three of Fernando's four wives (Maria Antonia de Bourbon, Maria Isabel de Braganza, and Maria Josepha Amalia of Saxony) and many important collectors. Originally from Toledo, he moved to Madrid and in 1815 he was appointed bookbinder to the Palace, and in 1817 was assigned the task of cleaning and repairing the King's books. He had a workshop at Calle del Espejo No. 11 in Madrid; even though he lost everything during the 1823 invasion of the French, Santiago Martin rebuilt his shop and his clientelle. Thankfully a good portion of his account books survived and await further study. Some of Santiago Martin's finest bindings demonstrate an undoubted English predilection for the neo-classical, as here. It has been conjectured that Santiago Martin trained in the workshop of the famous Valencian bookbinder D. Pascual Carsi y Vidal, whose works also show a decided English influence. Santiago Martin taught bookbinding at the Real Biblioteca, where he found great favor with Librarian D. Jose Angel Alvarez.

The distinctive palmette rolls on our volumes are found on signed bindings by Santiago Martin Sanz, i.e. Estado General de la Real Armada bound for María Josefa Amalia (PR Real Biblioteca XIV/2722 | Olim: VIII-Vit. Comp. 7; Sala XVIII-Est. Central). The distinctive spine treatment was achieved by multiple gilt impressions of a single roll, identical to that which appears on a signed Santiago Martin Sanz binding: Constituciones y extrauagantes de la Orden del Glorioso Doctor nuestro Padre S. Geronymo (PR. Real Biblioteca IX/8822). Not surprisingly, many of Santiago Martin's bindings are preserved in the Real Biblioteca, and a great many of them are published on the Encuadernacion section of the Real Biblioteca website: his bindings are immediately recognizable on account of their unmistakable and inimitable treatment of the leather, which is positively luminous.

¶ There can be no doubt that this is the masterpiece of the press of Antonio de Sancha (1720-1790). Produced under royal patronage, it would seem as if no expense was spared. Sancha's creation is enthusiastically, and justly praised by renowned printing historian D.B. Updike, who positively gushes: "Sancha's beautiful quarto edition [...] is still considered the great edition of Solis' work. The types used are frankly old style, and of these the larger sizes are the best Introductory matter fills fifty pages, and this prefatory material is divided into eleven sections. To arrange it successfully, as Sancha has done, would tax the ingenuity of any printer. On arriving at last at the History, how fine it is! The first page is faced by a portrait of Cortes after Titian; the opening page is really ornamented by its engraved head-piece and initial; the type of the text is a large, beautiful old style, printed on laid paper in a sharp, brilliant impression. A series of twenty-four delightful and rather ingenuous full-page engravings designed by Josef Ximeno are scattered through the work, each Book of which begins with an engraved head-piece and ends with a tail-piece. The engraved lettering beneath the full-page plates shows how magnificent was the style of calligraphy which still survived in Spain." (SOURCE: D.B. Updike, Printing Types, Their History, Forms, and Use, pp. 76-77, noting that Sir William Stirling Maxwell described this edition as "the triumph of the press of Sancha").

¶ The author, Antonio de Solis y Rivadeneyra (1610-1686), was the foremost chronicler of Mexico, and had access to archival sources that were previously unknown or unavailable. The work was first published in 1684, and in spite of various historical faults, it has remained indespensible to historians of Mexico ever since. "[I]ts epic style thrilled readers long after the age of exploration had ended. Solis is factually less dependable but easily more colorful than Cortes or Diaz" (SOURCE: Elder et al., The Literature of Beguilement, p. 19).

¶ Sabin 86465; Palau VI, 530 ("Bella edición y una las mas nitidas de esta obra"). Medina, BHA 5064 ("La mejor de todas las ediciones de la obra de Solis"). For a detailed bio-bibliography of Santiago Martin Sanz, see: Matilde Lopez Serrano, "Libreros encuadernadores de Camera II: Santiago Martin" in: Arte Espagnol, 1943, vol. XIV, pp. 14-22).

Price: $12,000.00