Monday, 4 December 2006

Bookplate Collecting Themes – «Don Quijote»

Contemporary ex libris collectors have often specialized or chosen a particular theme(s) as the preferable object for their collections.
Apart from what is commonly called «erotic» or «nude» ex libris which has increasingly become very popular and fashionable among a wide number of collectors, the theme «Don Quijote» - the immortal character created by Don Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, is certainly among one of the most chosen by exlibrists.
Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616) lived in an epoch ravaged by the wars of religion in a country that was a paramount power of the day and died in the same year as Shakespeare after a live not exempt from tragedy, misfortune and adventure.
His El ingenioso hidalgo don Quijote de la Mancha first part was published in 1605 obtaining great success not only in his native country but also throughout Europe and just one year before his death the second part was published at Madrid. Translated in many languages object of movies and television series and even computer games, Don Quixote has inspired Operas, Ballets and musical compositions. Illustrators, engravers and painters have also treated Don Quijote, namely William Hogarth, G. Doré, H. Daumier, F. Goya, Antonio Muñoz Degrain, Picasso and Salvador Dali.
(see, article by Roderick S. Quiroz, Don Quixote and the Prints Inspired by the Novel: An Introduction, at
For a summary of one of his best biographies by Prof. Jean Canavaggio see, - part of the Project Cervantes’ excellent website resulting from the cooperation of Texas A&M University and the University of Castilla-La Mancha – Cervantes Chair. The site provides apart from biographical information, a Cervantes International Bibliography Online, a Don Quixote Bibliography, a Cervantes Digital Library with electronic editions of Cervantes’s works and a Cervantes Digital Archive of Images with Don Quijote iconography, Cervantes portraits and above all a digital archive of Ex Libris Cervantinos.
Ex Libris Cervantinos has the on-line catalogue of one of the best Collections of Cervantes/Quijote Bookplates ever gathered, belonging to Dr. Gian Carlo Torre - an Italian collector and author (see, Torre, Gian Carlo. La aventura de Don Quijote en los ex-libris. Braga: Ed. A. M. da Mota Miranda, 2003 & Don Chisciotte nell'ex libris. Turín: Edizioni MAF Servizi, 1995).

For the text of the English translation of Don Quixote, by John Ormsby published in London in 1885 see,
See also, The IV Centenary of Don Quijote web site and the Weaving the legend of don Quixote / Toledo exhibition with tapestries illustrating some of the adventures of the ingenious nobleman Don Quixote de la Mancha some of which were commissioned by King Felipe V and the Museo Iconográfico del Quijote, an excellent website from Mexico.
Georgetown University organized a series of initiatives to commemorate the IV Centenary of Quijote's publication see, TILTING AT WINDMILLS: DON QUIXOTE AT 400 including art and rare books from the Georgetown University Library's Special Collections.

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