KINGSBOROUGH, Edward King, Viscount (1795-1837). Antiquities of Mexico: comprising facsimiles of ancient Mexican paintings and hieroglyphics... together with the monuments of New Spain, by M. Dupaix... the drawings on stone by A. Aglio. London: Robert Havell, Colnaghi Son and Co. [vols. I-VII], 1831, and Henry G. Bohn [vols. VIII-IX], 1848.
9 volumes, large 2° (538 x 356mm). 742 plates (in volumes I-IV), mostly by Augustine Aglio, comprising: 588 FINELY HAND-COLORED LITHOGRAPHS (39 of these colored in part only), 144 uncolored lithographs (of which 127 chalk lithos on mounted India paper), 4 engravings, and 6 aquatints (one folding), 2 lithographic tables in text volumes V and VI, with the 60-page section for the projected volume X bound in at end of volume IX. (Two plates in vol. III crudely restored affecting the illustrations, title-pages slightly creased, somewhat dusty, some finger-soiling, all plates and title-pages blindstamped, additional small library stamp on each title). Contemporary green half morocco, spines gilt, gilt edges (rubbed, some chipping to backstrips and corners, some upper inner hinges split).
FIRST EDITION OF THE COLORED ISSUE OF THE GREATEST ILLUSTRATED WORK ON MEXICAN ANTIQUITIES. The story of Kingsborough's fateful engouement for Mexican manuscripts is well known: during his studies at Oxford he became fascinated by one of the Bodleian's manuscripts -- the very one described by Samuel Purchas in 1626 (in Purchas his Pilgrimes, vol. III) -- and decided to devote himself to the study of Central American manuscripts and artifacts. With the support of Sir Thomas Phillipps, many of whose manuscripts are described in the Antiquities, he employed the Italian painter Agustine Aglio to scour Europe's greatest libraries and private collections for Mexican manuscripts, which Aglio sketched and later lithographed for publication. Besides Aglio's reproductions of manuscripts in the Bodleian, the Vatican Library, the Borgian Museum, 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, taken from Castañeda's original drawings, and descriptions of sculptures and artifacts from several private collections. The text, with sections in Spanish, English, French and Italian, includes Sahagun's Historia General de la Nueva España and the chronicles of Tezozomoc and Ixtlilxochitl. The immense project cost Kingsborough £32,000 and his life: in 1837 he died of typhus contracted in prison in Dublin, a few days after being arrested for a debt to a paper manufacturer. His father the Earl of Kingston died a few month later; Kingsborough would have stood to inherit an annual estate of £40,000.
As stated on the title of volumes I-VII, the work was intended to contain seven volumes; the last two volumes were published by Bohn as a supplement based on the author's notes. An earlier issue of the titles of volumes I-VII is known, which are dated 1830 and give Aglio as publisher. Hoping to help the sale, Aglio transferred the stock of all seven volumes to Havell and Colnaghi the following year, who printed new title-pages with their address and the current date. Brunet III, 663; Lipperheide Md11; Palau 128006; Sabin 37800. (9)