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The Codex Stosch
Missing for Centuries, Up for Auction at Lyon & Turnbull of
III, No. 6, June 24, 2005
unique book dating from the 1520’s and lost for over two centuries will
be sold in July by the Edinburgh auction house of Lyon and Turnbull.
The Codex Stosch is a series of twenty-three folios of early 16th
century drawings of Roman architecture which were bound together during
the middle of the eighteenth century. There was no record of the
Codex’s whereabouts from then until its recent discovery at Pallinsburn
House in Northumberland.
“This is an incredibly exciting find,” said Dr. Sebastian Pryke, an
auctioneer and specialist at Lyon and Turnbull. “The book was last
recorded in the 18th century in the library of Baron Philip de Stosch,
a celebrated collector who was also an English spy who reported on the
whereabouts of the Old Pretender in Rome. His library was sold in 1764
with most of the architectural drawings ending up in the Albertina, the
drawings collection of the Vienna State Museum. The Codex, however, was
not included in the sale and disappeared for over two hundred years
only to resurface in the library at Pallinsburn House.”
The Codex is named after its first known owner, Philipp von Stosch, who
died in 1757. A 1762 reference attributed the folios to Raphael,
claiming they were plans for the reconstruction of Rome as proposed in
his letter to Pope Leo X. In actual fact, they are believed to be the
work of Giovanni Battista da Sangallo (1496-1548) as they strongly
resemble his illustrations for a first edition of Vitruvius, currently
held in Rome’s Biblioteca Corsiniana.
The Codex Stosch (Sale 125 Lot 1) is scheduled to be auctioned July 1.
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