Madrid: Joaquín Ibarra, 1783; 1788. Four volumes. NOVA: ,xxiii,,830; ,xxii,669,pp., plus engraved frontispiece portrait of King Carlos III in first volume; VETUS: ,xxvii,,556,viii; ,467pp., plus engraved frontispiece portrait of Antonio and plate entitled "Membranae" in first volume. Complete, but with the twenty-two-page section of preliminaries in the second volume of the NOVA misbound, actually belonging in the second volume of the VETUS. Folio. Half titles in all four volumes. Uniformly bound in contemporary mottled calf, central gilt armorial device on front board of each volume, rebacked in matching gilt calf, gilt leather labels. Minor shelf wear, corners worn. Old personal library shelf notations on front free endpaper of second, third, and fourth volumes. Very occasional light foxing. Very good. Item #WRCAM55326
Second edition set of Antonio's massive bibliography on Spanish authors from antiquity to the late-17th century, a production that is regarded as vastly superior in quality to each work in its first edition. Somewhat confusingly, Antonio published his first bibliography on later Spanish authors; only after his death was the portion covering earlier Spanish authors discovered, written as a literary history of Spain. BIBLIOTHECA HISPANA NOVA... was published first in 1672, and covered Spanish authors published from 1500 to 1684; BIBLIOTHECA HISPANA VETUS... was first published in 1696 and included authors from the time of Augustus to the year 1500.
"Of both parts an excellent edition was published, by order of Charles III in the original Latin, at Madrid, in 1783 and 1788, in four volumes, folio, commonly known as the 'Bibliotheca Vetus et Nova' of Nicolas Antonio; the first being enriched with notes by Perez Bayer, a learned Valencian, long the head of the Royal Library at Madrid; and the last receiving additions from Antonio's own manuscripts that bring down his notices of Spanish writers to the time of his death, in 1684. In the earlier portion, embracing the names of about thirteen hundred authors, little remains to be desired, so far as the Roman or the ecclesiastical literary history of Spain is concerned; but for the Arabic we must go to Casiri and Gayangos, and for the Jewish to Castro and Amador de los Rios; while, for the proper Spanish literature that existed before the reign of Charles V, manuscripts discovered since the careful labors of Bayer furnish important additions. In the latter portion, which contains notices of nearly eight thousand writers of the best period of Spanish literature, we have, notwithstanding the occasional inaccuracies and oversights inevitable in a work so vast and so various, a monument of industry, fairness, and fidelity, for which those who most use it will always be most grateful. The two, taken together, constitute their author, beyond all reasonable question, the father and founder of the literary history of his country" - Ticknor.
Joaquín Ibarra y Marín printed the NOVA, while his heirs printed the VETUS in the immediate years after Ibarra's death in 1785. Ibarra was and remains a very important Spanish technician responsible for many advancements in the printer's arts, namely improvements in paper, the standardization of type production, and the creation of new ink formulas. He is most famous now for his beautiful 1780 edition of DON QUIXOTE, which is usually referred to as the "Ibarra Don Quixote." Printed in the subsequent years after the Cervantes work, the present epic bibliography carries the best hallmarks of Ibarra's printing art, namely handsome paper, gorgeous typography, and impeccable composition. PALAU 13310. HEREDIA 3523. SALVA 80. SABIN 1720. Ticknor, HISTORY OF SPANISH LITERATURE I, p.251. Besterman, THE BEGINNINGS OF SYSTEMATIC BIBLIOGRAPHY, pp.44-45.