History and Publications

FIGURE 3. The Codex Nuttall, 1902 edition.

FIGURE 3. The Codex Nuttall, 1902 edition.

The whereabouts of the Codex Nuttall before the mid-nineteenth century are unknown. In 1854 it was in Florence, housed among the collections of the library of the Dominican monastery of San Marco. Government suppression of monastic orders in the 1860s led to the dissolution of the San Marco library and to the screenfold’s purchase by an Englishman, John Temple Leader. He sent the screenfold to England as a gift to his friend Robert Curzon, the fourteenth Baron Zouche. Curzon was interested in the history of writing and had amassed a private collection of documents he felt were related to this subject. Curzon’s son, Robert Nathaniel Curzon, deposited the book to the British Museum in 1876. The Codex was brought to wider scholarly attention by Zelia Nuttall in 1898, who tracked down the book after first hearing of its existence at an informal reception at the Casa Villari in Florence.2

Through the cooperation of the British Museum and Harvard University’s Peabody Museum, a lithographed facsimile with a commentary by Nuttall was published in 1902 (Figure 3). Photographic reproductions were published by the Akademische Druk-und Verlagsanstalt in 1987 and by the Sociedad Estatal Quinto Centenario, the Akademische Druk-und Verlagsanstalt, and the Fondo de Cultura Economica in 1992. A paperback reprint of the 1902 edition was first published by Dover books in 1976.

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2 Nuttall 1902, 1-5.