The Brightest, Cleanest, and Most Elegantly Written Carta Executoria We've Ever Owned

(Spain: 1793). 306 x 205 mm. (12 x 8"). 37 leaves of text, single column, 18 lines, in a fine, italic hand.

Original red morocco, covers with intricate gilt frame of crenellations, garlands, and floral tools, smooth spine divided into panels with decorative rolls, panels with urn centerpieces, marbled endpapers all edges gilt. In a contemporary marbled calf pull-off case. WITH CHARMING ILLUMINATED INITIALS AND HEADPIECES, TWO FULL-PAGE ILLUSTRATIONS, AND A FOLDING FAMILY TREE. With signatures and three official seals. A little light soiling to binding, a breath of rubbing to extremities, otherwise A VERY FINE COPY, VIRTUALLY PRISTINE INTERNALLY.

This is a beautifully executed example of a Spanish carta executoria with all the luxurious detailing one would expect from a document meant to verify one's nobility. Such a document, obtained only by those with the considerable means to do so (and, consequently, something purchased as much as bestowed), provided evidence of aristocratic lineage with no trace of peasant, Jewish, or Moorish blood. More than simply asserting one's high standing, a carta executoria exempted the holder from civil suits and taxation. (The noble would have to perform military service in lieu of tax payment, but he could employ someone else to fulfill this obligation--which would in the end be cheaper than paying taxes.) So, well-born clients often spent very substantial sums on commissioning these manuscripts and having them confirmed by the king or other person of authority. And carta executoria were often ostentatiously decorated (as here), to suggest the wealth and taste of the grantee. The two full-page miniatures preceding the manuscript show a coat of arms (f. 1r) and obelisk (f. 2v) with the seal stamp of Charles IV, dated 1793. On the marble pedestal is the name of the "Rey de Armas," the public official who was entrusted with the registration of the armorial bearings, the formation of new ones that were granted, and the observance of the heraldic laws. The recipient was Don Rafael Mangino y Fernández de Lima, and this document follows the genealogy of four of his family lines: Mangino, Fernandez de Lima, Urcesi, and Freytas. The manuscript culminates in a splendid family tree, illustrating the subject's ancestry with bold red, yellow, and blue medallions sprouting on leafy branches, a seascape in the distance. Don Rafael Mangino y Fernández de Lima (1738-1806) was a Knight of the royal and distinguished Order of the Cross of Charles III, Commissioner of the Royal Exercises, and Administrator of the Royal Customs of Puebla. He was the father of Rafael Mangino y Mendívil (1788-1837), deputy and president of the first Constituent Congress of Mexico, and Secretary of the Treasury during the government of Anastasio Bustamante. These kinds of documents appear on the market with some regularity, but very often the quality of the vellum is such that the leaves have yellowed and wrinkled over time, and just as often, the quality of the scribal hand lacks elegance. The present example is the cleanest and brightest--and the hand is the most beautiful--we have ever owned. This is also the first carta executoria we've seen with its original calf-covered pull-off case.

Add to Cart Price: $7,500.00

PJP Catalog: BibWk21.007


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