Manuscript copy of Historia de las Indias
Diego Durán, c. 1830s
DURÁN, Diego (d. 1588?). Manuscript copy of Historia de las Indias de Nueva-España y islas de Tierra Firme. Spain, c.1830s.

A fine manuscript copy of Father Duráns celebrated history of Mexico, illustrated with numerous vivid watercolors of Aztec iconography. The 16th-century manuscript original of the Durán Codex is at the Biblioteca Real de Madrid, and a number of copies are known to have been made prior to its first publication in 1867-80. The present copy was most likely produced for Lord Kingsborough, who published the lavishly illustrated work in Antiquities of Mexico, Comprising Facsimiles of Ancient Mexican Paintings and Hieroglyphics in 1830-38. It was sold at Kingsborough’s sale in 1842 and purchased by Sir Thomas Phillipps.

Two volumes, folio (301 x 210mm). Manuscript on paper, 1,264 leaves, written in a clerical Spanish hand. One full-page and 113 smaller watercolor illustrations (lower half of f. 831 cut out). 19th-century blue morocco, covers with wide gilt border, arms in gilt at center, edges gilt, by Hering (Zambrano library label on back flyleaf). Provenance: Edward King, Viscount Kingsborough (1795-1837; binding, his sale 1 November 1842) – Sir Thomas Phillipps (1792-1872; his mss. no. 11639) – Cornelius J. Hauck (1893-1967; purchased from Emil Offenbacher, 1952; his sale, Christie’s New York, 27-28 June 2006, lot 515).
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