Douce’s collection contains a remarkable amount of Spanish prints. Apart from works by well-known artists such as Goya and Ribera, it is possible to find many rare devotional images and popular prints produced in Spain between the sixteenth and the early nineteenth centuries. The woodcut below is a good example:
This rebus is based on the couplet composed by the Sevillian poet Miguel Cid in 1614-15: “Todo el mundo en general / a voces reina escogida / diga que sois concebida / sin pecado original” (Lisa Duffy-Zeballos has managed to translate it keeping the original rhyme: “All the world in general / with one voice, chosen Queen / proclaimed that you are conceived / without original sin”). Admittedly, this was not one of the finest moments in the history of Spanish poetry, but I think that the critic who wrote in The London Magazine of August 1825 that ‘such doggrel, however “immaculate” in “conception”, is wretched in expression’ might have missed the point.*
Cid and his poem were included by Francisco Pacheco (1564-c.1644) in this Immaculate Conception, painted shortly afterwards for the Cathedral of Seville:
Although Cid’s poem appeared in the early seventeenth century, its enduring popularity is attested not only by Douce’s print, but also by modern performances of the accompanying music composed by his contemporaries Bernardo del Toro and Francisco Correa de Arauxo:
*The title of the article was ‘Spanish Religious Tournaments’ (p. 538).