Travels in the south of Spain, in letters written A.D. 1809 and 1810.

London, J. Johnson and W. Miller, 1811.

4to, pp. xiii, [iii], 407, [1, blank], 36, [7], with a folding frontispiece-map incorporating an aquatint panorama of Cádiz, eleven uncoloured aquatint plates (of which two folding), and an engraved plate; some light foxing and offsetting from plates as usual, small wormhole in upper outer corner of text-block (not affecting text or images); contemporary calf; extremities rubbed and bumped, covers slightly scratched, lower joint cracked; unidentified armorial bookplate on front pastedown; from the library of Ian Robertson (1928–2020).

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First edition. William Jacob (?1762–1851), Member of Parliament for Rye in Sussex, was a merchant whose South American trading interests made him an enthusiastic supporter of the Spanish American colonies. He spent six months in Spain during the early stages of the Peninsular War, although he writes as a civilian.

Jacob landed in Cádiz and spent some time there, having been prevented from leaving ‘by the want of mules, or rather by the fears of the muleteers, who dread going to Seville, lest their cattle should be impressed to carry provisions and stores to the armies’ (p. 31). In Seville he admired the many artworks he encountered: ‘few places in Europe, with the exception of London and Paris, contain so many good pictures as are to be found in this city’ (p. 114). He was struck by the works of Murillo in particular, and came away ‘with some of his sketches, and an admirable portrait of his son’ (p. 118). At the convent of San Leandro he met two English nuns who ‘spoke English tolerably well, but were occasionally at a loss for particular words’ (p. 136). They ‘expressed the usual hatred to Buonaparte’ (p. 137). At Jerez he witnessed the arrival of Lord Wellington and attended a bull-fight laid on in his honour. Sailing from Cádiz to Gibraltar, Jacob then rode to Málaga, Granada and Ronda in the company of Lieutenant Mitchel of the Artillery. He visited the Alhambra several times and, although the building was in a state of some decay, was greatly impressed: ‘the character of the whole is so remote from all the objects to which we are accustomed, that the impressions of wonder and delight which it has excited, will afford me the most pleasing recollections during the remainder of my life’ (p. 287). Returning to Cádiz, his departure for England coincided with the arrival of British troops there: ‘the day we sailed, a fleet of transports arrived in the bay of Cadiz, having on board between three and four thousand British and Portuguese troops, who were received by the inhabitants with the loudest acclamations, and the most lively expressions of joy’ (p. 392).

The subjects of the plates, which are sometimes found coloured, are: ‘La Lonja, Seville’, ‘Inquisition, formerly Jesuits College in Seville’, ‘Cathedral, Seville’, ‘Roman ruins, Alcalá’, ‘Carthusian Convent near Xeres’, ‘Calvario at Xeres’, ‘Custom House, Malaga’, ‘Cathedral, Malaga’, ‘Alhambra in Granada’, ‘Palace of Charles 5th, in the Alhambra Granada’, ‘Bridge at Ronda’, and ‘Gibraltar’.

Abbey 145; Alberich 856; Palau 122598; Prideaux p. 341; Tooley 279. See Robertson, Los curiosos impertinentes (1992) pp. 102–4.

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