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  4. Identification of the house


Identification of the house

grabado antiguo de la casa de Cervantes

The publication of an extract from the trial by Juan Antonio Pellicer, in his careful edition of El Quijote (1797), and its reproduction in 1819 by the Cervantes historian Martín Fernández Navarrete, raised the question of whether the house Cervantes had lived in still existed.

Although the documentation referring to the incident was not at that time enough to definitely identify the house the writer had lived in, in 1862 Profesor D. José Santa María de Hita was able to pinpoint exactly the rooms Cervantes had occupied and his discovery was accepted officially by all the relevant cultural and political institutions on 23 June 1866 and and hanged a nameplate in order to commemorate it.

To commemorate the 275th anniversary of the publication of Don Quixote, the antiques dealer and specialist of Cervantes’s works, Mr. Mariano Pérez Mínguez, decorated the house with antique furniture and objects, and the “Casa de Cervantes” Society was founded.

In 1912 the Marquis of Vega Inclán, Royal Commissioner for Tourism reported to King Alfonso XIII the ruinous state the house was in. The King took up his suggestion and ordered the creation of a Cervantes Institution. He acquired the house at nº 14, identified as the house where Cervantes had actually lived. The Marquis proposed that the Hispanic Society of America in New York could be brought in to help in the project. and Mr Huntington acquired the adjoining ones.


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