A view of Spain; comprising a descriptive itinerary, of each province, and a general statistical account of the country; including its population, agriculture, manufactures, commerce, and finances; its government, civil, and ecclesiastical establishments; the state of the arts, sciences, and literature; its manners, customs, natural history, etc. London, Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme, and R.

Dulau & Co., 1809.

Five volumes, 8vo, pp. [xvi], clxxix, 386; vii, 511; vi, 482; vii, 574; v, 398; with three tables (of which one folding and one double-page) and 27 maps (of which eight double-page); some spotting of, and offsetting from, maps, and some spotting elsewhere, pale dampstain in upper outer corner of some maps in vol. I; mid-nineteenth-century calf-backed boards, spines gilt; rubbed, upper cover of vol. I detached; from the library of Ian Robertson (1928–2020).

£650

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A view of Spain; comprising a descriptive itinerary, of each province, and a general statistical account of the country; including its population, agriculture, manufactures, commerce, and finances; its government, civil, and ecclesiastical establishments; the state of the arts, sciences, and literature; its manners, customs, natural history, etc. London, Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme, and R.

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First edition in English of Laborde’s Itinéraire descriptif de l’Espagne (1808–9), the most comprehensive description of Spain in the early nineteenth century.

Laborde (1773–1842), the son of a banker of Spanish origin, went to Spain in 1800 as an attaché to Lucien Bonaparte’s embassy in Madrid. He spent several years travelling widely in the country, often accompanied by artists such as Jacques Moulinier and François Ligier, who would supply many of the plates for Laborde’s lavish four-volume Voyage pittoresque et historique de l’Espagne (1806–20); Laborde intended the Itinéraire descriptif and the Voyage pittoresque to be complementary. At Granada in 1807 he joined his sister Nathalie de Noailles and François-Auguste-René de Chateaubriand, whose novel Les aventures du dernier Abencérage (written in 1807 but not published until 1821) was inspired by the Alhambra.

‘The first three volumes contain a descriptive Itinerary, and a statistical account of each province: the two last are devoted to a general view of the country in whatever relates to the different branches of the government and of political economy’ (vol. I, p. iii). Much of the useful practical advice to travellers is taken from Christian August Fischer’s account of Spain (published in German in 1799 and in French in 1801).

Provenance: the Holland House copy, with bookplates and gilt crest at head of spines. The library of Holland House was largely formed by Henry Richard Vassall Fox, Baron Holland (1773–1840), a leading Whig advocate of liberalism in government and international politics. Lord Holland and his fearsome wife travelled extensively in Spain between 1802 and 1804 and again between 1807 and 1809, and he became an ardent hispanophile, assembling an extensive Spanish library.

Alberich 735; Goldsmiths’ 19776; Kress B.5525; Palau 128983.

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