Sims Reed Rare Books×

Antiquities of Mexico ... &c

Kingsborough, Edward King, Viscount

London. Printed by James Moyes, Published by Robert Havell & Colnaghi & Co. (Vols. I - VII); Printed by Richard and John E. Taylor, Published by Henry G. Bohn. (Vols. VIII & IX). 1831–1848
First edition of the coloured issue of Kingsborough's magnum opus, the greatest illustrated work on Mexican antiquities.

Supported by Sir Thomas Phillipps - many of whose manuscripts are described in the Antiquities - Edward King, Viscount Kingsborough (1795 - 1837), who first became fascinated by Mexican artifacts whilst studying at Oxford, employed the Italian painter Augustine Aglio to scour Europe's greatest libraries and private collections for Mexican manuscripts. Aglio sketched and later lithographed these manuscripts for publication here in Kingsborough's magnum opus. Although Kingsborough's intention was to prove that the indigenous people of the Americas were a lost tribe of Israel, he inadvertently produced one of the most important books on the architecture and extant codices of Central America and Mexico ever produced. The cost of producing the work was enormous and Kingsborough reportedly spent more than £32,000, driving him into bankruptcy and debtor's prison as well as litigation with Phillips. Kingsborough died of typhoid contracted while in prison for a debt to a paper manufacturer mere months before he inherited the estate, with an annual income of £40,000, of his father, the Duke of Kingston.

This set is from the Havell issue: Aglio began publication of the first five volumes in 1830 but later, in 1831, transferred publication to Havell and Colnaghi who printed newer title pages.

Besides Aglio's reproductions of manuscripts in the Bodleian, the Vatican Library, the Imperial Library of Vienna, the Library of the Institute at Bologna, and the royal libraries of Berlin, Dresden, and Budapest, the work includes Dupaix's 'Monuments of New Spain' ('the first drawings of Maya architecture to be published', Wauchope), taken from Castaneda's original drawings, and descriptions of sculptures and artefacts from several private collections. The text, with sections in Spanish, English, French, and Italian, includes Sahagun's 'Historia General de la Nueva Espana' and the chronicles of Tezozomoc and Ixtlilxochitl. As stated on the title of volumes I - VII, the work was intended to contain 7 volumes; the last two volumes were published by Bohn in 1848 as a supplement based on the author's notes.

The full, and lengthy, title of the work reads as follows: 'Antiquities of Mexico: Comprising Fac-similes of Ancient Mexican Paintings and Hieroglyphics, Preserved in the Royal Libraries of Paris, Berlin, and Dresden; in the Imperial Library at Vienna; in the Vatican Library; in the Borgian Museum at Rome; in the Library of the Institute of Bologna; and in the Bodleian Library at Oxford. Together with the Monuments of New Spain, by M. Dupaix: With Their Respective Scales of Measurement and Accomanying Descriptions. The Whole Illustrated by Many Valuable Inedited Manuscripts, by Lord Kinsgsborough. The Drawings, on Stone, by A. Aglio. In Seven [Nine] Volumes.'

'La superbe et unique publication.' (Bibliotheca Mejicana).

The contents of each vol. are as follows:

I. The codices Mendoza, Terreriano-Remensis, Boturini, Bodley, Selden and the Selden Roll.
II. The codices Ríos, Laud, Cospi, Vienna and Humboldt Fragment I and II.
III. The codices Borgia, Dresden, Féjérváry-Mayer and Vatican B.
IV. Reproduces drawings from the Codex Ixtlilxochitl, part 2 of Mapa Siguenza and the Veytia Calendar Wheel (No. 4, a variant).
V. Transcriptions of the Spanish text of the Codex Mendoza and the Codex Telleriano Remensis, the Italian text of the Codex Ríos, the Spanish text of Dupaix ('Viages de Guillermo Dupaix sobre los Antiguedades Mejicanas') and book 6 of Sahagún's 'Historia'.
VI. Translations into English of the text of the Codex Mendoza, the Codex Telleriano-Remensis and the Codex Ríos as well as the English text of Dupaix ('The Monuments of New Spain') and the continuation of Sahagún's 'Historia'.
VII. Sahagún's 'Historia', books 1 - 12 (save that previously published - see above).
VIII. Preface and Book I of Veytia's 'Historia del origen de las gentes que poblaron la America sepentrional que llaman Nueva Espana', Pedro Simon's 'Tercera (y cuarta) noticia[s] de la segunda parte de las Noticias historiales de las conquistas de Tierra Firme, Adair's 'History of the North American Indians', the 'Cartas ineditas de Hernando Cortés' and 'Relaciones inéditas de Fernández de Oviedo'.
IX. Text of Alvarado Tezozomoc's 'Crónica Mexicana', Ixtlilxochitl's 'Historia Chichimeca' and his 'Relationes' and Motoliniá's 'Historia'.

[Bibliotheca Mejicana 879; Palau 128006; Brunet III, 663].
9 vols. Large folio. (550 x 390 mm). Illustrated with a total of 743 plates, mostly by Agustine Aglio, comprising: 587 lithograph plates, all with additional colouring by hand (39 coloured in part), 144 uncoloured lithographs including 127 chalk lithographs on India paper and mounted to larger sheets, 4 engravings, 6 aquatints (one folding), all in vols. I - IV and 2 lithograph tables (in text vols. V & VI). The 60 page section for the projected 10th volume is here bound at the end of volume IX. Contemporary blue morocco-backed marbled boards, banded spines with gilt decoration and tooling in compartments.