Broadside depicting the stages of a bullfight.

PIFERRER Thomas (c.1800-1850])


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Single sheet (430 x 314mm). 48 woodcut vignettes of bullfighting scenes, final nine depicting famous matadors giving names, lettered also in woodcut (deckle edges, some waterstaining to outer and lower margins, not touching illustrations).

En la librería de Piferrer, Plaza de Angel [Barcelona, n.d. but  

An appealing Spanish broadside with 48, attractively naive woodcuts of scenes from the bullfighting ring. Loosely chronological, these vignettes depict different stages of the spectacle, beginning with the traditional parade into the ring, followed by encounters with a picador - mounted on horseback - banderilleros, holding two small sticks; the well-known matador, with cloak in hand, and ending with the 'tercio de muerte', the death of the bull and its removal from the ring, with additional scenes of what appear to be the training of young bulls. The final nine square woodcuts each depict well-known matadors of the time, with their names - Espada, Velazo, Moreno, Lopez, Ruiz, Mauri, Canario, Patata. 

This broadside follows the long-standing Spanish printing tradition of aleluyas, single-sheet, ephemeral prints, originally produced for religious festivals and celebrations but, as here, also used to celebrate other events. Found both uncoloured and coloured - by hand, and later, using lithograph - as with the present sheet they were printed with 48 vignettes, traditionally of biblical scenes, and are said to have been cut up and used as confetti as a procession passed; they have also been labelled the predecessor of the modern comic, a a form of lottery game. Often with moralising themes - extant examples include one depicting the life of a good man, and the life of a sinner - others, like this one - and another we've found, with a heavily abridged retelling of Don Quixote - seem principally to have been for entertainment. 

For an extraordinary collection of aleluyas see the Coleccion de Aleluyas at the Fundacion Joaquín Díaz ( Of this design we have found one in the Díaz collection; one at Cambridge University Library [item no.145 in volume Tab.b.724]; one at the Met, hand-coloured. 

Stock Code: 248007

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