IMPORTANT 1ST ISSUE, 1ST EDITION OF 1ST JARVIS TRANS. OF DON QUIXOTE.
FIRST EDITION, FIRST ISSUE (no supplement to translator’s preface indicates a 1st issue). First edition of the Jarvis translation. Engraved frontispiece portrait of Cervantes by Virtue. Ten engraved headpieces and initials. 67 engraved plates. xxxii, vi, , 90, , 355 pp.; xii, 388 pp. Two volumes. Large 4to. Owner's contemporary flourishing ink signature "D.Middleton" in upper margin of title-page of both volumes. New endpapers. Title-page and facing plate expertly repaired on outer edge, some offsetting. Some offsetting from most engravings, & short closed tear on final page 355. Some oxidisation on both title pages. Single tiny worm-hole in outer margin of volume two. Second marginal worm-hole from page 365 to the end, just very slightly affecting final two plates, but narrowly avoiding the text. 24.5 x 28.5 cm. Contemporary speckled calf (spines very expertly replaced), spines gilt, red & green morocco lettering pieces, in compartments, corners worn, minor rubbing and wear to extremities. First edition and first issue of this esteemed translation. Jarvis (1675-1739), was a portrait painter and translator. A part of the literary circle of Addison, Pope, and Swift, his stylised portraits of society ladies were very fashionable. Jarvis advised Sir Robert Walpole in forming his art collection and was appointed king’s painter in 1723. “His major literary undertaking was an English translation of Cervantes’ Don Quixote. Published posthumously in 1742 and frequently reprinted, it is generally acknowledged as being close in spirit to the original.”–ODNB.
The superb engravings are mostly signed by John Vanderbank (1694-1739), a popular portraitist, 37 of whose works are in the National Portrait Gallery, studied with Godfrey Kneller, and engraved by Gerard Vander Gucht, from a Spanish-language Tonson edition of 1738 (Lord Carteret's edition - the first deluxe edition ever printed, and the first edition in Spanish published in England).
The 90 pages in Vol. I print the first English translation of Mayans & Siscar’s important Life of Cervantes & it has a separate title page dated 1738. The choice of a portraitist becomes clear in the "Advertisement concerning the Prints," where John Oldfield explains the restrained aesthetic, hinging on facial expression rather than action, which went into their planning. The portrait of Cervantes by G. Kent, engraved by George Vertue, is opposite the first page of the 90-page "Life of Michael de Cervantes Saavedra" (dated 1738) in Volume I. Richly illustrated throughout with dark impressions of the engravings. "Bella y suntuosa edición inspirada en la castellana publicada por el propio Tonson en 1738 conteniendo las mismas láminas." Palau 52479 . There is a copy in the National Library (Madrid) and in the British Museum (London) & WorldCat locates four other copies. The first issue appears to be rarer than the second issue.