Sunday, July 08, 2012


National Characteristics

Grosvenor Prints offers for sale (here, fourth item down):
Characteristics of Each European Nation, as laid down by Wyndham Beawes, in his History of Spain and Portugal.
[British, Anon., n.d., c.1800.]
Curious and rare letterpress broadside table of national "characteristics" of the Germans, Spanish, Italians, French, and English. Sheet 120 x 160mm, 4¾ x 6¼". Rare. Minor surface soiling and staining (as normal).
As the text below the table makes clear, a highly satirical reaction to Wyndham Beawes' 'A Civil, Commercial, Political, and Literary History of Spain and Portugal', (London: R. Faulder, 1793). The author clearly considers that Beawes' observations are simply crass racial sterrotypes [sic, read stereotypes].
See BL 794.k.15.
[Ref: 21166] £160.00

Click image to enlarge.

In fairness to Beawes, the table is not original with him, and in fact he disavowed at least some of it. See his words (Vol. I, p. 365):
And to complete this Part of my Discourse, and in Obsequiousness to the Curious, I here add the following Table, taken from the second Volume of the Specula Physico-Mathematico-Historica of the Father Premonstratensis John Zahn (a German); where he places in View the Variety which the five principal Nations in Europe have, in Ingeniums, Vices, and Endowments, both of Soul and Body; which he offers, as regulated according to the common Opinion: Though with what Truth, must be left to the Decision of the judicious Reader, with this Remark, however, of the Injustice done the Spaniards, who are not horrid in Body, Devils in Beauty, nor fallacious in their Fidelity, but have rather a corporeal Gentility and Comeliness, and are generally fixed in their Attachments.
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Hat tip: Ian Jackson.

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