Royal Fêtes in Barcelona Illustrated With 20 Plates
Barcelona, 1783,1802,1827.

Collection of nine pamphlets celebrating royal entries into Barcelona.

4to, (114) ff. with 20 folding etched or lithographed plates. Bound in later vellum over boards, collection title on red morocco label on spine. Some handsoiling to first and last leaves of individual pamphlets; tears, minor worming and occasional staining to some plates, first plate in sixth title heavily stained; overall, collection in very good condition.

Rare, illustrated collection of nine ephemeral fête programs documenting three generations of royal entries into Barcelona: Charles III in 1783, his son Charles IV in 1802, and grandson Ferdinand VII in 1827. This group of pamphlets affords a comparison between royal entries staged before and after the French occupation of Catalonia (1808-1823).

The first pamphlet, the sole 18th-century title in an interesting collection, contains 92 rhymed verses (all in the 10-line ‘espinel’ format following the abbaaccddc rhyme scheme) praising King Charles III and the city that is hosting him. The second work, pertaining to the entry of Charles IV nearly two decades later, is also in verse form (42 8-line poems).

The next 5 titles in the collection form an album of the series of masques that were mounted in the fall of 1802 for Charles IV, with delicate etchings drawn and engraved by Bonaventura Pinella. The plates illustrate processions of allegorical figures and carriages – the latter an object of fascination among inhabitants of the Iberian peninsula perhaps comparable to that of Americans with cars; these are adorned with flowers, a verdant tree, and a beehive, and a chariot of peace carrying both a tethered lion and a lamb. Some carriages pull imposing fortresses or mountain crags, upon which ride the figures of Janus, Minerva and Pomona, Emperor Andronicus and the swashbuckling adventurer Roger de Flor. This “Mascara” is considered to be one of the most important in the annals of Barcelona—after that of Carles III.

Charles IV, king of Spain between 1788 and 1808, was forced to abdicate in favor of his son, Ferdinand VII, after a popular uprising led to a coup at Aranjuez. Napoleon I tricked both father and son into a meeting with him at Bayonne, France, and forced them to abdicate in turn. The royal family was held captive in France until 1814, while Joseph Bonaparte was king of Spain. Throughout the Spanish Empire, the name of ‘Ferran’ (Ferdinand) VII was the rallying cry of revolutionary elements, who hoped to institute the liberal constitution written in 1812. However, when Ferdinand was restored to his throne in 1814, he promptly abolished the liberal charter and revealed himself a thorough reactionary. In 1820 the people revolted, forcing Ferdinand to re-adopt the constitution, but in 1823, the king, backed by French arms, revoked the constitution once again, and ruthless repression followed.

In December 1827, Ferdinand VII paid a visit to Barcelona, remaining until early January. Two fêtes were mounted in honour of him and his wife Amalia. The final two titles here capture these events—no sign of public disfavour is evident in the elaborate proceedings. The lithographs depict decorative elements on the arches erected for the entry, and the processions, which once again includes a chariot of peace as well as an imposing masonry temple of Juno. The eight lithographs by Antoni Monfort were drawn on the lithographic stone by F. Farreras, Adrià Ferran (1774-1842) and Planella (1772-1844).

The printing house of Jordi, Roca and Gaspar was active in the latter years of the 18th century; its tradition of printing topical works continued at least until the 1830s under the helm of Augusti Roca’s widow. Agusti Roca published clandestine leaflets during the Napoleonic invasion and was forced to flee to Tarragona and Mallorca. According to Palau, the pamphlets pertaining to both the 1802 and 1827 festivities were issued separately as well as in the collected editions found here.

* 1. Palau 29,755, one record in OCLC: Northwestern; 2. Palau 80,255, no OCLC records; 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. Palau 259,767, NUC records NYPL, Hispanic Society, no locations in OCLC. NOTE: Palau calls for 13 plates, but the two copies listed in the NUC contain only 11; this copy has 12. (separate issues: 4. Palau 193,624; 5. Palau 156,972, 20 pp.; 6. Palau 156,973, 19 pp.; 7. Palau 156,974); 8-9. Palau 259,934 (separate record for 9: Palau 156,976, 12 pp.).

Price: $4,850.00

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