Choix d’Ornements Moresques de l’Alhambra. Ouvrage faisant suite a l’atlas in-folio, Monuments Arabes et Moresques de Cordoue, Séville et Grenade.

Girault de Prangey, Joseph-Philibert.

Book ID: 35765


Folio. 30 chromolithographs including title page, all coloured by hand, contemporary half morocco, rubbed round edges, bookplate of William Arthur, sixth Duke of Portland verso front cover, rare beautiful copy, A. Hauser, Paris, first edition, [1842].


While John Frederick Lewis and David Roberts chased picturesque views of Spain in 1832-33, the French aristocrat Joseph-Philibert Girault de Prangey visited Granada, Seville and Cordoba, investigating the country’s Islamic monumental heritage. The results of his studies appeared in Monuments Arabes et Moresques de Cordoue, Séville et Grenade (1837-39) followed by Choix d’ornements moresques de l’Alhambra (1842). In 1841, he had published the sum of his researches in Essai sur l’architecture des arabes et des mores, en Espagne, en Sicilie et en Barbarie, in which he tried to build up a global history of Islamic architecture, being the first to compare the monuments of Andalusia with those of the Maghreb and Egypt. His depiction combine the Romantic tradition, full of picturesque details and characters, with a new sense of visual precision that opened the path to a renewed appreciation of Spain’s Islamic architecture and decoration.
One of the finest books of views produced at the time; Girault de Prangey used the most accomplished artists to interpret his drawings in the lithographic stone. They include views, architectural details, ornaments and plans; the figures in the foreground of the views add charm as well as recording costume and customs. Famous painters engraved the plates first in Paris, then de Prangey coloured them according to the original colours. The documentation of de Prangey has an immense value due to the destruction of and changes to the Arab monuments in Spain.
Bibliographic References: Palau 102631 (giving date as 1841); Creswell 356.

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