Illuminated & Illustrated on Every Page — An Amazing 16th-Century NEW WORLD Manuscript
García Palomo, Alonso. Manuscript, “Executorya de Alonso Garzya Palomo en que por ella se declara no poder ser preso por deuda cyvyl por ser caballero hijodalgo y dezyndiente de tales.” In Spanish, on vellum and paper. Mexico City, 1591. Folio, 68 ff. [SOLD]
any image where the hand appears on
mouse-over, for an enlargement.
The most elaborately illuminated and illustrated 16th-century Mexican carta
de hidalguía that we have ever seen. Textually it is a series of copies of documents proving that García Palomo, whose forebears were from Málaga, is a member of minor nobility and consequently entitled to certain privileges and exemptions, including not being jailed for civil debt. The final decree establishing his nobility is signed by Viceroy Luis de Velasco and two other members of the Royal Audiencia.
Artistically this is a stunning piece. The first leaf is vellum and contains
the title in gold letters, surrounded by a polychrome border incorporating
architectural elements and foliage, flowers, and ribbons. The verso contains
the García Palomo family coat of arms surrounded by an elaborate border
on a silver field. Every one of the remaining 66 pages has an
exquisite and different four-sided border in color of vines, flowers,
insects, mammals, birds, and fruit, highlighted with gold.
This manuscript is artistically related to illuminated manuscripts in the choir library of the cathedral of Mexico, all by various anonymous Mexican 16th-century artists — some, attributed with high certainty to Luis Lagarto. The expert on the Lagarto family of artists is Don Guillermo Tovar de Teresa, and he has opined to us that while “the Mannerist style [of this manuscript] is the same as Lagarto and his sons used,” he does not believe this to be the work of a member of that esteemed family. There is, however, the distinct possibility that it may have been done in the Lagarto atelier or in that of a disciple. Page by page examination of the manuscript’s illustrated borders, in detail, suggests that a number of identifiably (if often subtly!) different artists were involved, and so this manuscript may illuminate, for the patient and systematic researcher, exactly how a text manuscript coming into such an atelier for “the treatment” was distributed, accomplished, and reassembled! In sum, says Don Guillermo, “it
is a beautiful piece of Mexican 16th-century illumination.”
Contemporary green velvet over wood boards, worn, especially at edges, exposing the wood; lacking the silver or gold clasps once present. Minor worming, in upper (unillustrated) margins. A few margins with small pieces of the illustration/illumination excised. Overall, in good+ or very good condition. A rich feast for the eye, page after page after page.