The exhibition, curated by the Andalusian Public Foundation El legado andalusí, will be open to the public until March 3, 2024. Among the works on display for this occasion, there are notable first editions by the American writer.
The exhibition “Washington Irving. Fascination for Andalusia, 1828-1829” was inaugurated at the Casa de los Tiros Museum in Granada by Mario Martín Pareja, Director-General of Documentary and Bibliographic Heritage and Cultural Innovation and Promotion along with Concha de Santa Ana, Managing Director of the Andalusian Public Foundation El legado andalusí and Fernando Egea, delegate for Tourism, Culture, and Sports. It showcases 146 pieces, including 43 engravings, 50 books, 15 drawings, 5 letters, and 25 various objects such as inkwells, photographs, or oil lamps, allowing visitors to explore the life and work of the American author.
Curated by the Andalusian Public Foundation El legado andalusí, the exhibition, that can be visited till 3 March, 2024, features pieces from both the Foundation’s collection and a private collection, including bibliographic works, antique engravings, lithographs, photographs, photochromes, etc. As Mrs. De Santa Ana has described, notable among these are first editions of Washington Irving’s works such as “A History of the life and voyages of Christopher Columbus by Washington Irving” (1828), “Chronicle of the Conquest of Granada from the Mss. Of fray Antonio Agapida by Washington Irving” (1829), “Voyages and discoveries of the Companions of Columbus by Washington Irving” (1831), “The Alhambra” (1832), and the book, published in Spanish “Cuentos de la Alhambra” (1833).
Visitors to the exhibition will find original engravings of Andalusian towns like Córdoba, Alcalá la Real, Seville, Alcalá de Guadaíra, Antequera, Loja, Alhama, and Granada, that Irving visited during those years. There are also numerous portraits and photographs of Irving, spanning from his youth at 22 to shortly before his death in 1859, offering insights into the passage of time, his daily life, and his human side. De Santa Ana emphasized that Irving’s enduring fascination with Andalusia, his distinctive personality, and his literary work blending adventure and romanticism, reality and imagination, despite the years, provide invaluable information that deepens our understanding of our own history.
According to Martín, the exhibition’s structure provides a unique chance to explore the author’s early years and youth, his journey from New York to Andalusia, his time in Seville, Malaga and Huelva, his experiences at the Alhambra, his retreat at Sunnyside, and ultimately, his return to Spain, as well as his international recognition. Martín also emphasized the relevance and timeliness of this exhibition.
In addition, he emphasized the significant impact of Washington Irving’s works in spreading knowledge about Andalusia worldwide. Having lived in Spain for a total of eight years, a substantial part of that time in different Andalusian provinces, particularly in Granada and the Alhambra, Irving gained profound insight into the region’s reality, as well as its tales and legends, which he skilfully spread through his writings.
Furthermore, Fernando Egea has emphasized that the period leading up to Christmas is an ideal time to inaugurate a new exhibition in Granada. This exhibition will draw the attention of both residents and tourists to the Casa de los Tiros Museum and the collections of the Andalusian Public Foundation El legado andalusí, providing them with an opportunity to explore the life of the great writer Washington Irving.
For more information about the exhibition: Washington Irving and his fascination with Andalusia, 1828-1829.