A REMARKABLE discovery has brought to light two 1968 illustrations of Sevilla’s Semana Santa and gives an insight to the British perspective on Spain’s version of Easter.

The drawings, by esteemed British artist William ‘Bill’ Papas and originally published in the Guardian, remained hidden for almost six decades in an old book.

They were only rediscovered in February 2023 when Boris Quijada and Saul Quijada, owners of the Capitel bookstore in Alcalá de Henares, made a fateful purchase.

They bought an antique book from a British dealer called ‘The brotherhoods of Seville’, which was published in 1887.

British artist William ‘Bill’ Papas captured the essence of Sevilla’s Semana Santa in his 1968 illustrations

Hidden between the pages, they found the folded newspaper sheets containing Papas’ illustrations – a fusion of British artistic sensibility and Andalucian tradition.

“The drawings reflect the point of view of a British person, a person of the world, of eyes accustomed to diversity and transcendental historical moments,” said Enrique Guevara, scholar of Sevilla’s Semana Santa (Holy Week).

Papas, who died in 2000, was a renowned political cartoonist, author, and illustrator during the 60s and 70s who contributed to The Guardian, The Sunday Times, and the satirical magazine Punch. 

During his visit to Sevilla in the Semana Santa of 1968, Papas captured the essence of the event in his drawings. 

His illustrations vividly depict the interaction of nazarenos (penitents), pasos (religious floats), local Sevillians, and the city’s enchanting architecture.

But they remained hidden for almost six decades in an old book until being rediscovered. They are now set for a limited 150 print run.

They capture curious details like a flamenco dancer on horseback, a bull, and a figure resembling Don Quixote, evoking the deep and popular essence of Spain.

After nearly six decades concealed within a book, the Capitel Bookstore and the podcast Bicharraqvm Est have decided to print a limited edition of 150 copies of these drawings. 

This special release, printed on 300-gram laid paper, will include Papas’ original English text from the 1968 publication in The Guardian.

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