The BNE exposes the ‘Daza Codex’ by Lope de Vega

The National Library of Spain (BNE) joins the ephemeris of the Board of Qualification, Valuation and Export of Cultural Goods, which this 2022 celebrates its centenary, by show from this Friday, August 5, one of the emblematic works of its collection: the ‘Códice Daza’ acquired at the proposal of this body in 2009.

The first precedent of the Board of Qualification, Valuation and Export of Spanish Historical Heritage goods appears in the Royal Decree published in the Madrid Gazette on February 19, 1922 regarding exports of artistic objects, so this year 2022 is celebrated its centenary.

The Board is a consultative and collegiate body of the State that in its hundred years of history has advised the General Directorate of Fine Arts of the Ministry of Culture and Sports, to which it belongs, on different matters. Its main functions are to report on the advisability or otherwise of granting authorizations for the export and import of cultural property, to carry out appraisals and issue proposals for the acquisition, by the State, of Spanish Historical Heritage assets so that they can be incorporated into the collections of state museums, archives and libraries.

The Board is made up of 22 specialists and a secretary: 18 are appointed by the Ministry of Culture and Sports and 4 by the Ministry of Finance and Public Administration. In recognition of its work, in 2021 the Board was awarded the Gold Medal for Merit in Fine Arts.

In 2009, the Ministry of Culture, at the proposal of the Board, acquired for the BNE the autograph manuscript of Lope de Vega (1562-1635), known as ‘Codex Daza’ one of the most important purchases of the last 50 years.

The manuscript was acquired after the denial in December 2005, by the Board of Qualification, Valuation and Export of Goods of the Spanish Historical Heritage, of the export permit requested by the family that owns it to sell it at the London auction house Christie’s. Negotiations began in 2005, finally achieving its acquisition on December 30, 2009.

Once incorporated into the heritage collection of the BNE, the manuscript has been restored and digitized and is currently available to anyone who wishes to consult it from anywhere in the world, in the Biblioteca Digital Hispánica.

The ‘Codex Daza’ It is a miscellaneous portfolio – a name that was applied to a group of notebooks in the 17th century – with 532 pages, bound in parchment, with remains of cord clasps and an annotation, as a title, on the cover ‘Here are the Eclogues’.

It is one of the three known autograph drafts by Lope de Vega, written in the last years of his life, between 1631 and 1634. For this reason, as the BNE points out, it is an exceptional piece because almost all the texts that have been preserved of his handwriting are usually definitive pieces or intended for printing.

The known part contains the first versions of some of Lope’s latest works, such as ‘The Dorothea’, his main work in prose, as well as compositions of the ‘Human and divine rhymes of the lawyer Tomé de Burguillos’ (heteronym of Lope) o ‘The plain of Parnassus’. Approximately half of its content is unpublished, including a large number of compositions presented in a disorderly manner, which reveal Lope’s way of working.

The ‘Codex Daza’ It comes from the Duke of Sessa, a great friend and protector of Lope de Vega, who compiled this volume during the author’s lifetime. Later, the codex passed to the counts of Altamira, who joined the Dukes of Sessa in the mid-eighteenth century. In 1869 it was acquired by Valentín Carderera, who sold it to Luis de Madrazo, father of Teresa de Madrazo, wife of Mario Daza de Campos, later passing to his nieces Pastora, Piedad and Milagros Daza de Campos.

The content was transcribed for the first time in 1970 by Joaquín de Entrambasaguas, to whom we owe the name of this draft as ‘Códice Daza’, in reference to the Daza de Campos family, last owner of the manuscript, before its arrival at the Library. National of Spain. It can be visited from August 5 to September 12 in the antechamber of the institution’s María Moliner Reading Room.

By Editor

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