Sotheby's Old Masters to showcase '$18m' Renaissance manuscripts

Sotheby's has announced that its Old Master & British Paintings auction on December 5 in London will be led by three Renaissance masterworks from the Devonshire Collection at Chatsworth.

Raphael's Head of a Young Apostle, which is considered the greatest Raphael drawing remaining in private hands, is to lead the sale with a high estimate of $24m. Joining the magnificent piece are two 15th century illuminated manuscripts which, according to Sotheby's, are among the finest to ever appear at auction.

Sotheby's Renaissance Manuscripts
Both pieces were owned by the
Renaissance's two biggest bibliophiles

The first offering is entitled Mystere de la Vengeance and was completed circa 1465. The manuscript is a drama of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, written in French verse. Once owned by Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy (1396-1467), it is among the finest copies known.

The work was previously purchased by the 6th Duke of Devonshire at the celebrated Roxburghe sale of 1812, where it set a record for the most valuable illuminated manuscript ever sold at £493. 10s. It now is expected to sell for £4m-6m ($6.5m-9.7m).

Also featuring is the "fictional and swashbuckling" Deeds of Sir Gillion de Trazegenies in the Middle East, which is estimated at £3m-5m ($4.8-8m). Like the Mystere de la Vengeance, the work is written in French on vellum. It was once part of the library of King Francois I of France.

The manuscript originally belonged to Earl of Winchester and renowned bibliophile, Louis de Gruuthuse (1422-1492), who at the time was the world's second biggest purchaser of illuminated manuscripts behind Philip the Good.

Paul Fraser Collectibles has an extraordinary collection of rare manuscripts on offer. Our collection is highlighted by an original divorce plea from King Henry VIII - a document which would change religion in England forever.

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