Caveda, Jose

Ensayo historico sobre los diversos generos de arquitectura empleados en Espana desde la dominacion Romana hasta nuestros dias … publicado de Real orden.

Madrid, “Imprenta de D.Santiago Saunaque” 1848.

Reference: 13460
Price: £280 [convert currency]

Full Description

4to. 544 + (6)pp. Contemporary paper wrappers, rebacked with matching paper spine. Author’s presentation copy to Andres Borrego, with ink presentation inscription on half title leaf. Half title leaf, title leaf, and errata leaf (at end of volume) rather spotted and soiled, with some light spotting elsewhere, and first few signatures of volume affected by old light stains at lower margin and lower outer corner (the staining is faint after p.32 and disappears after p.64). Slight curling of page edges at outer corners.

Of some merit as the first history of Spanish architecture written by an author who was aware of writings on architectural history by contemporary scholars in other European countries. This is especially relevant to Caveda’s chapters on Romanesque and Gothic architecture, where he endeavours to establish accurate datings for some of Spain’s oldest surviving churches ; the topic was one of particular interest to him, since he was a native of the Asturias region, on Spain’s north coast, and most of the churches involved were concentrated either in Asturias or in neighbouring Leon. G.E.Street, author twenty years later of what was to become the standard English-language book on Spanish architecture, was not greatly impressed by what Caveda has to say, but it is relevant that Caveda (1796-1882) was not an architect but an administrator and writer, and he deserves credit for providing what is in general a very acceptable narrative of the whole sweep of Spanish architecture from Roman times to the “segunda restauracion de la arquitectura greco-Romana”, exemplified in the work of such late eighteenth century architects as Juan de Villanueva and Silvestre Perez. He appends a copy of a report by himself and two colleagues dated 16 September 1846 in which they advocate, and set out guidelines for, a survey of the surviving buildings of architectural merit in each province of Spain. Caveda’s political opinions were liberal, and the present copy of the book carries a presentation inscription from him to Andres Borrego (1802-1891), a journalist who made his reputation from the 1830s onwards as editor of a succession of newspapers and periodicals advocating progressive policies. Although the condition of our copy might well be better (see the description below), it is interesting that it was printed on a rather ordinary paper stock, and that even a presentation copy such as the present one was issued in rather flimsy paper wrappers. It was thus not in any sense a vanity publication aimed at a small elite, but one that was no doubt intended to circulate widely, and the statement on its title leaf that it was published “de Real orden” (by royal order) suggests that it was issued with the specific purpose of encouraging general public interest in Spain’s architectural heritage. Bonet Correa 64.