1722 (5 December) · Madrid
Francisco Alonso Usatigui Barcena y Rodriguez de los Rios was descended from the noble families of Alonso, Usatigui, Barcena, and Rodriguez and held office as a Lieutenant-Colonel of the Spanish Royal Infantry Guard in the early 18th century, during and after the War of Spanish Succession.
Here Don Juan Antonio de Hoces Sarmiento, the Royal Chronicler, certifies that he has examined the many volumes in the royal archives relating to the noble families of Spain and their achievements, royal favors, and coats of arms, and he has found that Col. Alonso Usatigui is entitled to use the coat of arms that serves as the frontispiece of this manuscript.
He also gives lengthy synopses of the histories of the Alonso, Usatigui, Barcena, and Rodriguez families and explains the elements of the coat of arms and their significance. => Included here, and a most uncommon element of such documents, is the listing of all 26 exemptions and privileges that hidalgos enjoy by right of their status.
The text is written in a competent but not notable semi-calligraphic hand, 22 lines to a page, using sepia ink (sometimes pale though always legible), with rubrics in red outlined in brown and the first line of text in majuscules in red and brown. The coat of arms bears a bearded mans head above a castle with a lion rampant sinister and a wolf rampant dexter. The border of the shield is set with the heads of men in the four cardinal directions and ladders sinister and dexter. => The whole is accomplished in red, blue, silver. purple, and green, but curiously not gold. There is a contemporary orange silk guard protecting the leaf of arms, and the volume ends with endorsements on the last leaf, with the paper seal of the city of Madrid.
Provenance: 20th-century stamp on front free endpaper of the Argentine private library of the Moctezuma family.
=> An intriguing aspect of the binding is that faintly visible beneath the pastedowns is 15th-century manuscript waste. Contemporary parchment over pasteboards with inked summary of contents and a large tulip-like flower on front cover; evidence of silk ties now missing. Text with some small holes from the very occasional inkburn, else in good and presentable condition. (Inventory #: 40295)