Recent Acquisitions feature: México y sus alrededores

As we count down the days until our Recent Acquisitions Evening, we continue to feature items that will be on display on March 22.

México y sus alrededores (Mexico and its Surroundings) is a stunning document of life in Mexico in the mid-19th century. It features color plates made using chromolithography, a type of color printing in which ink is applied to a stone and then transferred to paper, one color at a time, in progressive proofs. Chromolithography can produce rich colors created by layering colors over each other, and many of the plates in México y sus alrededores display such complex pigmentation.

The plates primarily depict locales around Mexico City, providing a vivid and useful record of architecture, clothing, and daily activity.

Many of Castro’s chromolithographs show landscapes from a bird’s-eye view, offering remarkable perspectives on Mexico City.

México y sus alrededores was issued by subscription in parts, beginning in 1855. Plates were added and changed over time. Each copy contains whichever plates were chosen by its original purchaser, and no two copies are identical. The number of plates varies widely from copy to copy, with anywhere from eighteen to fifty-two plates. The Rare Book Collection’s copy has an unusually large number of plates, some of which are done in full chromolithography and some of which are merely tinted.

You can see this beautiful volume, as well as many other rare and unique items, on display at the Rare Book Collection’s Recent Acquisitions Evening — a not-under-glass display of some of the Collection’s notable acquisitions. We hope you’ll join us on March 22 for the opportunity to see these remarkable items up close.

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