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SERRANO, Thomas. Fiestas seculares, con que la coronada ciudad de Valencia celebró el feliz cumplimiento del tercer siglo de la canonizacion de su esclarecido hijo, y angel protector S. Vincente Ferrer, Apostol de Europa. Valencia, La vidua de Joseph de Orga, 1762.

4to [20.1 x 14.9 cm], ], (17) ff. (including engraved frontispiece), 452 pp., (2) ff. folding engraved plates, with (10) finely engraved headpiece vignettes, woodcut initials, and woodcut tailpieces. Bound to contemporary vellum, manuscript title on spine, red and blue mottled edges. Minor rubbing to spine and covers, headband and tailband loose. An old mend to the half title, occasional minor spotting, minor browning in a few quires, a worm track in the inner margin of pp. 349-433, old mends to the naumachia folding plate.


Rare first edition of an illustrated festival book describing the celebration in Valencia of the 300th anniversary of the canonization of St. Vincent Ferrer (1350-1419), the Dominican friar and native of Valencia acclaimed for his missionary work, his application of logic to theology, and his efforts to end the Western Schism (1378-1418). The Jesuit Thomas Serrano’s (1715-84) Fiestas seculares presents a full written account of the festivities, detailing the genesis of the event, providing a block-by-block description of decorations, and describing both sacred ceremonies and secular merriment.

Serrano’s text is enlivened by a series of fine engravings, including a full-page allegorical frontispiece treating Ferrer’s sainthood (with a view of Valencia) and 10 headpiece vignettes – all engraved by the local artist Vicente Galceran (1726-88) after the designs of the painter Josef Vergara (1726-99) – which illustrate a scene from Ferrer’s life, portray the city council entrusted with staging the festivities, record principal façades and views of the city, and depict various events from the celebration (the solemn Mass, a procession of Ferrer’s cult statue, notable citizens parading on horseback, and a sort of terrestrial naumachia, with horse-carts disguised as ships engaged in a musket battle between Christians and Turks). Two folding engravings by Carlos Francia record the house of Joaquin Valeriola y Proxita (fabulously decorated with 7698 lanterns, innumerable mirrors, shrines, and façade paintings) and a vast naumachia in progress in the Turia River, the cityscape of Valencia in the background.

OCLC locates U.S. copies of the Fiestas seculares at Texas, Illinois, Michigan, and Iowa.

* Palau 310499; Agilar Pinal, Bib. S. XVIII, vol. 7, p. 4810; Bénézit, vol. 4, p. 587, and vol. 10, p. 451.

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